November 17, 2011

What Values Have You Taught Your Children?

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The term “family values” to many is practiced by the loving and caring of those we call core_values_01“family.” We love them, we protect them, and we breathe easy in the comfort of knowing that they would do the same for us. That is what children need to see and at that point, a value system is born. Teaching your children values will help them make good choices in their lives.

Parents have a difficult task when trying to successfully teach their kids values. When a newspaper columnist was asked to name the biggest obstacle parents face in training children, he responded: “Themselves.”


Parents who do not practice what they preach are working against their own interests and those of their children

Today’s world is ever changing and very fast paced. In years past children grew up in a small community or with just their families and their challenges were much different. As a parent your influence over your children has been diminished and so you need to try extra hard to instill good values in them.

What are your values? Teaching values to our children must start with our selves. This is a very critical step and only you can determine what your values are. You naturally want your children to have integrity and a good character but what other values should we teach them? Let’s talk about some…..

Love: The first of the most important values in life I believe is love. It is an important personal value to open your mind to the concept of love. I don’t mean this in a fairy tale kind of way. That is not the only kind of love. The way in which you love your family, and friends, you can love everybody. Love is the bringer of compassion. Once, we are led by compassion, we see the best in others, while they see the best in us. We can have more faith in the world. This will help us to refrain from being suspicious, keeping us more at ease.

Honesty: It is another important value to have. Honesty does not only mean telling your parents when you goofed up. Or admitting to your partner that you made a big mistake. Honesty is admitting to yourself that you are not perfect. It means avoiding to make a mistake. An honest person will try his best to not goof up, but if he does, he will not only admit it, but will willingly accept the consequences. All the other values that are mentioned need to be accepted and followed with honesty. That is the only way in which they will affect your life for the better.

Courage: Courage means doing the right thing when it is hard, even when it means being called a “chicken” by others. A person with courage dares to attempt difficult things that are good. He has the strength of a leader and ability not to follow the crowd, to say no and mean it and influence others by it. He is true to conviction and follows good impulses even when they are unpopular or inconvenient.

Sharing: Teach your child to share what he has with those around. The value of sharing instilled earlier on in childhood will help him experience the joy of giving and sharing. He would be more selfless and as an adult would be able to act in greater good of all, rather than just being hung up on petty things in life.

Respect: Respect is something children greatly learn from adults. If you and your spouse TL-GoldFamilySign-1009respect each other and other members of the family, it will positively influence your child. Also, it is important to respect your child, so that in future, he learns to respect his subordinates and other people who are not his equals.

Understanding: I see a lot of people around me holding grudges and keeping tempers. They know at the back of their mind and in the depths of their heart that the other person had a reason for doing what they did. Yet, they let their anger take over. Understanding is the key to a happy mind and a caring heart. If you are ready to understand and accept people and circumstances for what they are, you can gain control over it. Understand that people are doing their best, and instead of questioning it, try to find out ways to help them out.

Patience: Patience is a virtue that can be instilled in children. Patience teaches children the value of delaying gratification, a skill necessary for maturity. Patience can help develop the ability to think through and resolve problems; it can counteract impulstivity and acting out behaviors. The value of patience lies in its ability to lead to inner calm and emotional strength of character. Teaching patience by example helps children learn resilience, self-containment, and the ability to self-soothe. These are qualities needed for emotional maturity.

thumbnail.aspxManners: As soon as your children are able to talk, they can be taught proper manners. Teach the Magic words…Teach your kids the value of words like “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” “you’re welcome,” and “I’m sorry.” Explain when to use these words, and why it’s important to do so.



The poet, Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Keep this quote close to your heart why you are teaching your family these values.

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Last let’s talk about Core Values……What are core values? Values are qualities that define your existence. They are the cornerstones around which life revolves. Values give a framework to your life. They give you things which you believe in and follow for the rest of your life.

Core values are values which you ought to internalize and follow for the rest of your life, for they stand for what you believe in. What are the common core values? Integrity, honesty, hard work, self-belief… the list could go on and on. But certainly, core values are those which are existence-defining and make you the person you are. Our personal values are mostly formed in our childhood and are greatly influenced by our parents and teachers. It is only in our childhood that we learn through our elders and also through observation of things around us about what is right and what is wrong. Later when we grow a bit older, perhaps when we are in our teens, our friends too have a great influence on our core values and beliefs. At that particular time in our lives, our old values formed from childhood might even get replaced by some new ones. Are you teaching these in your home?

Among the better core values is integrity. What does integrity stand for? Integrity means keeping one’s morality intact. A person who believes in being morally correct is said to have integrity.

So what does a person with integrity do? Is it about helping an old lady cross the road? Is it the voice of conscience which stops him before he picks up something that is not his? Is it about respecting his elders and taking care of those younger to him?

Integrity is being passionate about what you do. Integrity is being passionate about what you believe in. It is about being morally correct in all your endeavors. It is about following the rest of your core values and not wavering in doing so. It is about following what you believe in, which is morally correct.

Family 2I think an easy way to teach in our homes is to focus on one value each month. It can be anything from character building to goal setting. The important thing is that your children have the opportunity to tell you what they think of it. By doing this your children will feel like they are part of the process and will appreciate your willingness to hear different perspectives. Teaching values to our children starts with our own values. First we need to understand what our values are. If we lack certain values or are unhappy with a current value then now is the time to change. Then set some time aside each month where you can meet with your children and discuss a different value each month with them.

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What does your family stand for? I don’t mean whether you vote Republican or Democrat. I’m asking about what character traits define who your family is. What virtues do you embrace? What principles guide your behavior? Do your children know — and more importantly see in action — what you feel about integrity, compassion, tolerance, IC-Core-Values-Projectequality, and forgiveness? When asked to describe your family, would your children mention proudly that you stood for honesty, courage, and faith? Your children need to know the reasons behind what you stand for. Your family of origin’s of values? Life-changing events in your past? Your religious beliefs? They also need to know what you won’t stand for and why, like racism and bigotry.

Before you engage your children in a discussion of what your family stands for, you might ask them what they think are your family’s most important beliefs and values. How have they come to those conclusions? What have they observed in your actions and in what ways have they lived their lives to prove what you all stand for? Their answers will give you a child-centered focus to begin your talk.

Simply listing the character traits of your family — “We stand for honesty, empathy, and tolerance” — isn’t enough. Here are some examples of what your family might stand for, and some questions that will deepen your discussion.


  • What do you think this Native American proverb means: “You can’t understand another person until you walk a few miles in their moccasins”?
  • What’s the difference between pity and empathy? Give family members an opportunity to think about another person’s feelings. For example, what do they think Grandma is feeling now that she has had to move into a nursing home? What is she most worried about? What would make her most happy? Or, have them consider how volunteering at a food pantry teaches empathy.


  • Can you strongly disagree about something with your parents or your friends and still be loyal to them?
  • Would it be disloyal to tell a friend’s parents that she has a problem with stealing? Should a loyal friend ever say anything that could get his friend in trouble?
  • Do you have to obey everything your coach tells you to do in order to be a loyal team member?


    • Does having courage mean that you’ll try anything?
    • What’s the best example of courage that you’ve personally seen, heard, and read about?
    • When have you had to show the most courage?

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Following these simple steps can help you teach your child your family values, leading mostly by example and modeling. Children often respond more effectively to lessons delivered in this way as opposed to messages delivered in long discussions. The key to success with modeling is in being consistent and positive. Even if your child seems to stray from your family values, your consistency and positive manner will increase the likelihood that he will return to your values in the future.

A great place to teach children about Values…….Turn the Page.

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