Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How do YOU teach your children about your values?

I've been thinking about this question lately. What methods are the most effective to use to get your values across to your children?

I know that I default to the way I was taught when I am not thinking about how I communicate what I consider most important to my children. I know that it worked to get my parents' values across to me....but my children live in a different era and are exposed to a lot more than I was ever exposed to. I *want* to be more deliberate about how I teach my children, but when I'm tired (most of the time), or rushed (again, most of the time), or just lazy, I don't think through what I am saying to my children.

So all of this got me to thinking about the best way for my children to learn from me, and it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, "Children rarely misquote you. Rather, they repeat word-for-word what you shouldn't have said."

Children do most of their learning from us when we're not trying to teach them. They learn our bad habits, our irritating mannerisms, and the words we say that we don't want them to say. In other words, they learn by example moreso than lecture.

So, how am I to teach my children the way I want them to live?

I have to live in front of them the life I want them to emulate. I have to be an example.

So, I have to examine my life. How am *I* living? Am I being what I want my children to become? What is my life teaching my children? Am I giving example of a life fully committed to God? Or, am I showing my children how to lazily sit in front of the TV, not being careful of what is in front of my eyes? What does the music I listen to teach my children? Am I teaching my children to gossip? Am I teaching them to care for their bodies by eating good foods and staying in shape?

For a lot of years, I thought that being a parent was going to be easy. And frankly, if I allow myself to default to how I was raised, it *is* easy. BUT, that way does not necessarily produce the results I am looking for in my children. I am starting realize that parenting is hard work...and the hardest part of it is in evaluating myself, and living in such a way that I am being the right example to my children.

So, how do YOU teach your children your values?


Jennifer P. said...

HELLO!!! So sorry it's been FOREVER since I've been here! I love getting your comments and will try to return the love more often ;)!

I use a website called valuesparenting.org. We focus on one value a month and try to institute it into our daily lives. Good stuff!!!

KC said...

Great post.. I think you hit the nail right on the head.. our children learn from watching us.. not what we say they should do, but what we do in our own life.. The example we put out there for them is what they are going to remember..

Ana said...

Yep, example is the way we teach here, too. I know I could design lessons, blah, blah, blah, but I know the strongest lessons I learned from my own parents were from watching them. I expect that will be the same for my kids, despite the differences in the world today. So, I try to be the best I can be, apologize for my mistakes, and hope for the best.

www.frogparenting.blogspot.com said...

I have also found that being honest about my/our mistakes as a parent is a meaningful way to teach acceptance and grace. My parents NEVER apolgized to my brother and I, so, I am happy to report that I have and do, apoligize to my kids and my hubby -- when the need arises. I have also asked my kids to pray for me-- that seems to help them see me not as perfect, but as willing ~