Often parents ask:
‘What right do I have to tell my child what to believe in? He should grow up and become whoever he wishes to be.”
And he will. I guarantee it. Even if you spend every waking moment of your child’s childhood, every day telling him what to believe in; he will grow up and decide for himself what is right for him. Even as individuals, parents of yourselves, when will you decide to live according to what you believe in?
As parents, your role is to raise your child according to your ability, according to your understanding of this world. Clearly, you don’t want your child to lie, steal, and harm others. Teach him so. Clearly, you want your child to respect something, be it his family members, himself, mother nature, religion, elders (fill in the blank whatever is your truest truth is). Teach him so. As an individual, what do you believe in?
The following five principles can help you incorporate your believes into your life.
And know that he will spend the rest of his life, listening, then resisting, and finally, deciding what it is he does believe in for himself. But, for now, your job is to give them what you’ve got.
The following guidelines were taken from my parenting lecture series “Raising Moral Children”.
Use them to develop and live according to your family ID.
1 Develop The ID
What words would you use to describe who we are? What life views do we wish to share with our child before they leave the home?
Religious health nature-lovers animal-lovers successful
Attractive environmentalists love learning Zionists clean/ hygienic
Politically passionate prioritize on family physically active
2- Theory Or Practice?
It is important that we take an honest assessment of the current situation. Do we practice what we preach, are we preaching at all, do we practice one thing and do the other?
Look at your lives today and see where your family principals and ID are today.
On a weekly basis, where do they exist?
Do our children see us engaging in activities which reflect these principals?
Do we talk about it, but don’t do it?
3- Closing The Gap
Identify what is blocking your family from living the ethical principles that are important to you. What is blocking you from closing the gap between theory and practice?
In most homes, money, time, and energy are the main reasons families don’t live the principals they wish to. Look at all the resources available to you to make the changes that are important for you. Know that any effort, regardless of how small, is significant and meaningful.
Pick one value that is most important for you to pass on to your children. List five activities you could do to start actively living according to this principle. These activities don’t need to cost anything. They can include:
– family discussions
-volunteering for an organization who promotes this ideal
– planning a family outing to participate in something related to the issue
– reading books or watching movies related to the issue
– meeting with people who live according to these principles.
5- Take Action
Sit down with your children and share with them the importance in your eyes of the following principle. Tell them your stories and why it means a lot to you. Share with them that you want as a family to incorporate it into your lives. Ask them for their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Present some of your ideas and together, as a family, decide and take action.
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