TEACHING VALUES TO OUR CHILDREN
Now more than ever, teaching values to our children is a priority. Of course, this is often easier said than done. Teaching values takes time, and a conscientious effort that we as parents need to make. Outside influences like peer pressure and the entertainment industry—through the Internet, television, movies, video games and music—are having a greater affect on children, shaping their perspectives more than ever before. Thus, our intervention as parents needs to be consistent and well planned.
As a general rule, it’s up to the parents to teach their children what to believe, and how they should live their lives. However, there are universal values that are shared by many, and which are cornerstone to raising well rounded human beings.
1. Compassion - A life of compassion can lead to understanding, strength, friendship and joy. Compassion includes selflessness, empathy, mercy, tolerance, kindness, love and charity. These values help us build positive relationships with surrounding people, along with ourselves. We must teach children to find opportunities to show compassion. This may be through helping children understand other people’s backgrounds — lessening judgment of others’ situations, helping children do nice things for their siblings or friends who are having a bad day or teaching them self-compassion when they feel like they don’t measure up. Teaching children compassion will go far. As they grow older, compassionate children will be able to find opportunities to make a difference for others, leading them to feel more secure, joyful and self-confident.
2. Gratitude - When we aren’t grateful for what we have, life feels less satisfying. If we teach our children to be content with what they have and grateful for the little things that happen in their lives, it will be game-changing for their futures.
3. Integrity - Integrity is a high level of honesty in all dealings with yourself and others. A person’s ability to act with integrity will have a direct correlation to their reliability, responsibility and self-confidence.
4. Patience -Children can learn patience by doing chores to earn an allowance and saving their money to pay for things they want. They can learn patience by learning to garden and patiently nurture the plants to help them grow. Children can learn patience by accepting failure. They might not win that basketball championship, master the piano right away, or get an A on their report card, but as children continue to work hard to achieve their goals, they will learn the art of patience. Good things come over time, and the reward is so much better after heart and effort have been put into achieving the goal.
5. Commitment - The ability to commit to something and see it through is a talent that must be practiced. It’s easy to quit to escape the hard things in life. However, taking ownership and facing trials builds a strength that is necessary for living a life of fullness and joy. Children can learn commitment through things such as doing chores or being involved in extracurricular activities.
6. Courtesy and Respect - Children learn respect at home based on how parents and others in their lives treat each other. Your child will strive to model your behavior, so if you are courteous, using “please,” “you’re welcome,” “thank you” and similar phrases, your child will follow suit. It is also important to teach your child how to respect others’ opinions and property so that he can create healthy relationships.
7. Responsibility - Responsible children grow into responsible adults. It is important to teach children to take responsibility for both the good and bad actions they do. This helps to prevent your children from growing into whiny individuals who are always trying to blame others for things they have done wrong.
8. Perseverance - The lesson of persistence starts when kids are young, learning to feed themselves, walk or speak. As a parent let your child know that you are always proud of him, and when he feels discouraged try to guide him to the right solution without simply solving a problem for him. If your child learns to be persistent at a young age, then as he gets older he will always have the urge to try his best.
As adults we need to remember that children learn by example and experience. If as parents we create an atmosphere and set an example of these values in our home, they will catch on and live a fuller life with high potential.