Raising Them with Dignity


Tall, brown hair with natural blonde highlights, blue eyes, smart, funny and a smile that could light up any room. Every day she took the time to do her hair and dress in the most fashionable outfit. It was impossible not to notice her great fashion sense. Her words were usually kind, unless she was mad at someone and she would do anything to spend time with me daily. The affinity towards being with her was mutual because time was slipping away.


Each moment we spent together I was reminded just how blessed I was to have her as my daughter. I love her not because she was my child but I love the good human being that she is.


I close my eyes and recall bringing her home from the hospital in a pink ruffled outfit, feeling like I had hit the lottery. At the time, I still could not believe both me and my husband were now parents. I walked into motherhood with passion, excitement and gratitude.


Knowing I had done many things right to be so lucky to have been blessed with this angel of perfection. And realizing this would be the best chapter of my life. Now fast forward 13 years later and being blessed with 4 children, I feel such gratitude in life daily. 


But as time quickly passes I am reminded that our children are on loan to us. As parents, our job is to raise them to be independent, intelligent and self-sufficient individuals. The hope is that one day they will go on to raise a family with the same values. They are not with us forever. But let’s face it: this is a journey that we can shape as parents tremendously. Even when we do not think they are watching, they are paying attention to every move we make. Below is how I try to influence my children to be the best they can be!


Lead by Example


If you are constantly preaching to your children to get along with their siblings and friends but they see you fighting with your spouse, this sends a mixed message. How can you expect them to treat others with kindness if their learned behavior shows them otherwise? 


One of the best things you can do as a parent is to love your spouse, hug your spouse and talk through disagreements. It is perfectly fine if they see you disagree on something but they should also see the talking and compromising that goes along with this. This will teach them how to have a healthy relationship. Every day is not sunshine, butterflies and rainbows—it takes work, communication and love. But it’s worth it!


Teach Them Work Ethic


From the young age of 6, I loved to work hard and accomplish tasks. I went to the neighbor’s house to rake leaves, shovel snow and pull weeds for a small fee. I could earn money to usually save and buy something for my mother’s birthday or Mother’s Day. From this I learned the value of hard work.


I was taught that if you work hard, you can achieve anything, and this has paid off in volumes! As an adult, I still enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after pulling weeds, gardening, shoveling snow and the countless other chores of daily life. It gives you a sense of pride.


This same value has been passed on to my 4 children in different ways but they are all learning from example of both me and my husband. My 13-year-old daughter enjoys helping me to prune the bushes in front of our house while my 11-year-old daughter loves to weed and anything that she can put hard effort into. My 6-year-old son loves helping fold laundry and our 2-year-old daughter enjoys carrying the folded laundry upstairs.


So, teach your children at a young age to work hard and this will set the path for their future success. Nothing good in life comes easy, so teach them to work hard!


Mutual Thankfulness


Since my children have been home for the summer, we have all learned to work together as a team. They help in little ways and it makes me want to do even more for them. I realize that simple things like them cleaning off the area they ate at is something that is paving who they will be later in life.


I want to raise children that have respect for the world around them. 


I look forward to creating new memories with them each day. I enjoy taking them to new places and making the most of each day together. I realize summer will soon end and it will become much harder to enjoy this time together.


Paying it Forward


Holding the door for passersby, saying kind words, dropping off a meal to someone that is grieving and just being a good person are a few of the many ways you can make a difference. Volunteering your time for a local shelter or soup kitchen will help even more, especially if you bring along your children. You are teaching them to pay it forward with love and kindness. This is an invaluable lesson to teach them.


In little ways, you can leave your footprint of positive change on the world. Be sure to teach your children just how important this is.


So, as our children are on loan to us, make sure to make the most out of every moment they are with you. Teach them and allow yourself to be taught through these experiences. Laugh together, love together and enjoy all the beautiful memories that you make.


Smile and be happy because time flies by and before you know it you will be teaching lessons to their children!



Tara Zimliki is a nationally recognized weight loss expert, personal trainer, health coach, health writer and founder of Tara’s Bootcamp, the Premiere Bootcamp of New Jersey. Tara also runs her own blog, funfitmama.com