I tell my kids I am responsible for raising them in three areas: mind, body, spirit.
For their mind I encourage and support their education, and we also focus on reading. If children love to read, and read a variety of genres they will become life-long learners no matter the years they spend in school. Their success in school is important, but in multiple areas. We focus not as much on the score or grade but emphasize the need for doing your best, and building a relationship with their teacher. The grade measures their effort indirectly, but the discussion revolves around effort and then the grade is the result, not the pressure to make the grade. Well rounded kids are better at functioning in the real world, and this means they understand that academics are important but fit into the bigger picture of family and being well rounded. I encourage reading through the idea that in reading we can become godlike. The reader is privileged with knowing the inside of a character’s mind, with traveling to other worlds without leaving our home, with even time travel or non-reality.
For their body I encourage the pursuit of a sport and eating healthy, and getting the proper amount of sleep. Sport offers them a discipline and a work ethic and a sense of team while they get to see themselves succeeding in multiple areas. Eating healthy is about taking care of their body, and not just because Mom is a nutritionist and says so. They have to take ownership of their own desire to eat healthy otherwise they are just following rules instead of believing in the value of eating healthy. If they cannot take care of their body, their mind and their spirit will suffer.
For their spirit we focus on family, God, and stress management. There is constant language in our house about the importance of family, and building and maintaining family relationships and that each of us is part of the team that is our family. This also allows for the focus to fall to one child on the day or time where they have an activity or are sick or in need and not insisting they are the center of attention each and every day. I encourage a personal relationship with their higher self and a personal and private relationship with God in addition to a community relationship through Church—but the private and personal one is first not burden with the societal expectations of who God is and how we should act according to that notion. And lastly, if we teach our kids everything they should do, but not how to react to life’s challenges, we have given them nothing.