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?