Maybe I wasn’t listening….

Group of teenagers sitting in classroom with raised hands.

I remember lots of things from school. I remember learning my times tables, and how to calculate the area of a circle. I remember learning about the Victorian gold rush and the names of all the train stations on the Queensland Sunlander, but I must not have been listening when they taught us how to be successful in life.


Many things I learnt in the classroom are useful in making me who I am today, but there are many important things I didn’t learn at school.

Maybe they can’t be learnt in a classroom.

As an employee, a wife, a mother and friend I spend more time relating to individuals in the uncharted areas of relationship, than I do using mathematical equations or drawing free hand maps of Australia.

Did anyone else learn the secrets to good relationships in the classroom?

Probably not. We seem left to discover the dos and don’ts of those on our own, and often at the expense of hurt and pain to the ones we love.

There’s a few simple principles I’ve found that can’t be ignored if we want to have relationships that enrich, not destroy our lives, and I didn’t learn them from a classroom.

1/. Everyone deserves respect.

Regardless of age, gender, cultural background or religion, every person I am in relationship with needs my respect.

How often do we hear people disrespecting their kids, or husbands their wives, or employees the boss?

It’s never going to produce good results.

Respect is a basic acceptance that everyone deserves to be treated as a person of equal value to me, and not used for our convenience.

2/. If you don’t like it then don’t do it!

How this will enrich your life if you live by it ?

If you don’t like being criticised, don’t do it.

If you don’t like being lectured, don’t do it.

If you don’t like being nagged, you guessed it, STOP.

It’s a simple idea but one that will help harmony to be established around your life and your home. I believe it was said very eloquently around 2000 years ago by a great Man recorded in the Bible in the book of Matthew

 Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.


3/. It’s ok to say sorry, because it’s ok to be wrong.

We have terms like ‘smarty pants’, ‘know it all’,  ‘wise guy’ to describe people who aren’t comfortable getting it wrong.

They work hard to maintain the illusion they are all knowing, but it just isn’t true. No matter how smart we are, we don’t know everything and accepting that is an important step towards successful relationships. No matter how well-meaning we are and how much we try to please, we all will make mistakes. The ability to take responsibility for those, to say sorry is a great blessing.

4/. It’s not all about me.

Although children tend to have a very self-centered view of life, as time passes we hope they learn that the feelings and rights of others are important to acknowledge and consider too.

At times our society promotes freedom so highly, that we forget there are boundaries to it. Those boundaries are the rights of other individuals. That means my freedom must stop at the point it impacts the rights of others.

To have successful relationships we need to make choices for our own lives that do not take away the rights of those around us, and do what we can to allow all to achieve success and fulfilment as they desire.


These principles won’t be taught in school, they may be modelled or mentioned, but as parents we have the opportunity to teach our children from very young, the things we wish we had learnt.

These are a few things I taught my children, I am sure you can think of many more. The purpose of this article is to encourage us to think about what we wish we had learnt,  model it and explain it to our children and so not send another generation into the jungle of relationships, unprepared.



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