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CHAPTER SEVEN

Building Relationships

e have covered a host of different things you must teach your children to give them the hope of leading successful lives. However, the most important things that your children will do—that they must learn when young—involve relationships with other peo- ple, and what some would call developing their “people skills.” W

Your children will encounter all kinds of people, and they must know how to co-exist with them. If your children cannot get along with other human beings, they are doomed to a life of terrible loneli- ness and misery. Of course, you must first equip yourself with the basic understanding of how to maintain good human relations, no matter the circumstances, and no matter how difficult certain people are. You will then know how to teach and advise them about all the different kinds of situations in which they could find themselves.

Building Family Relationships

To properly set the stage for all the things you have now learned that you must teach your children, it is best to start by introducing what is probably the most critical, overarching understanding of what it means to be a parent. This point is not actually something you teach your children, but rather it explains a way of life that presents an end- less number of opportunities to teach them all that they must learn— and it leads to being able to build good relationships of almost every

Building Relationships

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kind. This practice will pave the way for your children to be able to get along with almost anyone, and in the most trying of circumstanc- es.

There was once a time, and not long ago, when families looked forward to and enjoyed doing things together on a regular basis. Families and lives were very different from those of today. Before radio, television, movies, computers, telephones (and now even so- phisticated cellphones) and the endless variety of shallow magazines available today, people had much more time for other things. Activi- ties, recreation and many kinds of interesting pursuits were en- joyed—and enjoyed together, as a family. This included learning and playing more boardgames, card games, lawn games and outdoor ac- tivities. It also included picnics, hiking, camping, fishing, sightsee- ing, and the enjoyment of the wonders of nature as a family.

Also, families once talked much more around the dinner table, and usually for long periods of time. This was because people gener- ally had the patience to eat more slowly (which made digestion of food better) since the conversation was stimulating. (How many fam- ilies do not even eat together anymore, or do so only rarely?)

These kinds of extended conversations were made possible be- cause people were generally living much more interesting lives, which meant that they were reading more books—and this served to keep their fund of knowledge growing and their minds continually expanding. This made the up-coming prospect of family conversa- tion (and it applied to all conversations) interesting to the point of fascinating. Of course, the idea of the whole family just sitting and reading books, as was also commonly done in the past, seems terri- bly old-fashioned, and would be much more difficult in the “rat-race world” of modern society.

Tragically, today, both parents and children, particularly teenag- ers, have largely come to see trying to do most of the above family- oriented things as each party intruding on the others’ life and sched- ule. This means that parents are losing a vast number of settings and opportunities to teach their children—and today’s children are pay- ing a terrible price, making them the biggest losers!

Establish in your mind that you are going to swim as hard as you possibly can against the current, no matter the price that you must pay to do it! Think of your children as counting on you—TRUST- ING YOU!—to teach them all the things that they must know, in- cluding basic knowledge of people and human relationships of every

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