Top Life Values for Children:
Teaching children life values in today’s world has become more difficult but significantly more important. The values constantly blared at us in our own family rooms is: Be rich, famous, powerful and fabulous. And we consciously or unconsciously fit into these models.
Of course, doesn’t everyone want to fit in? Everyone does. So do we. So what do we do? Fill our lives with all the trappings of wealth, power and beauty. Not so much the essence, just the trappings. They have to be there to build our image. Otherwise, what would the Joneses think of us? Or of our children? Oh those kids, if they only do what I tell them to do. We sometimes hear ourselves say this in utter desperation when they tarnish our dreams of being rich, famous, powerful and fabulous.
Nothing wrong with these. We want all these. But are these really the only ones that matter? Are these the only measures of success? Of a man or woman? Are these the only life values we want to share with our children? Maybe not. How then can we make our kids better persons than we are? Think about Albert Einstein’s words:
The Values I Want To Share With My Children:
Foremost is for us to start with ourselves. Let’s stop following the expectations of the tribe. Let’s gather our courage and stand up for values that life taught us to be essential. For me, these are the values for success I want to share with my children.
I also realize that kids learn from us informally. What they see in us and how we behave in front of them are important. What we talk about, what we watch on television, how we go about with our day, how we relate to others and how we handle situations in life often teach them more than whatever we can give them in lectures.
When they see us trying to do our best, they will, too. This does not mean we have to be perfect. No. Kids have forgiving and understanding hearts. They are often better in these. Just do what you think is right and they will respect you for this even if they might not agree with you. Be true to yourself and do your best. And life will take care of the rest.
Key to Teaching Children Values:
Yes, start with your own self. When your values are clear to you, you manifest this in everything you do and inevitably share it with those around you especially your kids. They see you uphold these in everyday situations. I have taken Brian Hall’s Values Clarification course and I am convinced that we do this first so that we are clear at what level of the values pyramid we are in. This will make us understand better our own choices and, thus, can guide our kids accordingly.
1. The Value of a Dream or a Vision:
It is important that kids have their dreams to encourage them to reach beyond what they are now; to stretch their imagination at that age when they wish they were Spider man or Tomb Raider and go around in a permanent Halloween of costumes. Their capacity for imaginative dreaming is built in. Feed this value. Don’t disparage them as air heads. Then move the imagination a bit so they start their own achievable dreaming. The capacity to imagine and create is one of the most employable of skills and if we kill it in the kids we take away a great value asset for their futures.
Many kids just don’t have any direction. I grew up not knowing what I really wanted. I could do anything as far as my parents were concerned. But secretly, they had high expectations, right. I don’t know if this was the key that drove me to indecision and not caring or I just didn’t know how and my parents didn’t either. They were busy giving me a good life.
2. The Value of Goals and Direction in Life:
What happens to kids if they are always told what to do all the time? As parents, maybe we will indeed grow in our talent for goal setting but our kids maybe deprived of it. Time to guide them to plan their day. To have goals for vacation that they set for themselves and maybe even get rewards for achieving these goals. Whatever you say, we all like rewards. Look at us watching for our this site monsters bringing points and trophies.
3. The Value of Creating and Managing Wealth and Money:
Yes, schools teach us that wealth is not to be trusted. That wealthy people are dishonest. They give us little in the capacity to appreciate wealth, the skills to create this and to manage it effectively and equitably. The world is made up of Gekkos and cheats. We now have many good models around. Billionaires Buffet and Gates championing social responsibility and giving to those who need help. Wealth is neutral and strong dreams can give it enormous power. Children need to learn this so work is not equated with evil and sleaziness.
We often tell our kids that money does not grow on trees. But maybe it does. I know of one person who planted a forest of trees and this supported his children’s education. He is not an irresponsible logger. He works in the Ministry of Environment and got to know how the forests had been denuded so he started planting rare wood trees in his farm, trees that after 15 years he was able to harvest. But going back to the point, rather than just harping on them all the time, we show them how money can be made responsibly and with hard work and how the joy of using that money well is one of life’s great pleasures.
Last summer, I found myself embarrassed when our two granddaughters decided to do something with the birch bark falling off the trees around the cottage. They created some signs, some very funny, some as simple as “park here” and without our knowing they sold them to cottagers nearby who happily supported their effort. Imagine their new self confidence when they came home with earned income, all from their own imagination. My embarrassment was my problem not theirs and I could have been more helpful in building what clearly is a great entrepreneurial spirit in these two little devils.
Best books on creating wealth:
Many times all that kids hear from us are admonitions like, ” Do you think money grow on trees?” or “You are not old enough to have your own money” or “You’re always asking for money.” We give them the impression that money is scarce. In some cases, they hear us fight over money. Are these thoughts or experiences going to help them? The moment they start asking us to buy things for them is the right moment to teach them the value not just of money but of creating and managing money responsibly.
4. The Value of Work:
Yes, work. Work. They need to able to do things for themselves. They need this to be able to appreciate their own individual capacity and gifts. I can’t really say work hard or work smart but just work. Not all the nasty jobs in the house either although they can share those with you. Don’t make work a penalty make it a pleasure. Kids love to do something, learn something, improve their skills so it becomes easy to do things, to make things, to create, to innovate. They love to be recognized for what they do. They love to be able to say: ” I am because I can”.
It starts with their own self management. And yet, I see kids being served most of the time by parents who see them as treasured house guests! Leaving their dirty dishes around wherever there is space and leaving their own rooms as pits. Ok I have a tendency to grumpiness! But building these attitudes early is a great contribution to building competent adults who are valued in society.
5. The Value for High Standards of Performance:
That in life there are standards and setting higher standards for yourself makes for a good life is a value we need to share with our children. Believe me, the kids want these, too. And they appreciate seeing models they can aspire to. Many employees right now just want to dump in waste baskets, the mushy performance reviews that have become the norm in many work places especially with Government.
If we set standards for kids and make reaching the standards a matter of discussion and fun rather than hollering and punishment they respond to framework they can understand, that is predictable and they can plan around.
6. The Value of Sharing and Compassion:
This is very important. Appreciation for themselves and for everyone. So when they give, it is not because of pity but because of the awareness that this world is for everyone. You are the model. Share. Give to others. Help people round you. The kids will see and imitate. Kids early in life understand this. But as they grow older, they develop distinctions and depending on positive or negative experiences, prejudices set in. Helping others is a basic employment skill, too. Those that reach out usually have so much coming back. Managers quickly identify the helpers and they get the breaks because they help build the whole work team.
While we want to show kids with our own behavior that giving is better than receiving, we also need to teach them how to receive. Children love gifts and we make them appreciate these. Receiving is so much a part of sharing. When we receive graciously, people are really happy. So we all need to learn the art.
7. The Value of Celebration:
Yes, often, this is much lacking. We just murmur thank you but this is more. An appreciation for life. That life is worth celebrating. There is so much to be grateful for. The attitude that we wake up to life and all it offers in terms of challenges and opportunities. When a person does this every day and it becomes a habit, chances are his or her days are going to be promising. But for those who wake up to agonies and miseries, the days will unfold in darkness. This is why so many people get depressed. Awaken to the sun and celebrate the light it brings.
8. The Value of Lifelong Learning:
Learn continuously. Lifelong learning is an imperative now given the fast changing realities in our lives. The continuous learner is the winner in almost every aspect of life, employment, family and recreation. And you are the model for your gang. Be a learner. Talk about your learning and have fun. There is no leaving school, it just goes on and on, and it better be fun. I just finished reading Julie Jaguar’s autobiography and her going back to school, the School of this site. And there are 47 more of you who did this summer school. I have seen many here in this site using html which we never learned in school. What a triumph to produce all those quality articles.