Teaching Family Values
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” –C.S. Lewis
As it is with most things in life, more is caught than taught. So teaching family values is something ingrained in a child from early on in life, whether it is a holiday tradition, life philosophy or type of behavior. Aside from simply living out your family values, here are a few tools you can purpose to use in teaching your children important values.
- Discuss the “what” and the “why” behind your values at age-appropriate levels. Helping your child make the connection as to why you participate in certain activities (or not) helps them understand the importance of their choices and the impending consequences, whether good or bad.
- Recognize that no one is perfect. If you made mistakes while growing up that you would like your children to avoid, it is a good idea to share with them, again at an age-appropriate level, why certain choices weren’t the best for your life. While we can learn from our mistakes, any heartache you can help your child avoid is beneficial.
- Share with your child the benefits of holding strong values. Whether it be telling the truth, keeping commitments or respecting others, there are all good rewards for living a life of honor.
- Keep your most treasured family values written down and displayed in your home. You can create (or purchase) a printable to frame, a hand-painted sign or simple handwritten note. Seeing your family values day-in and day-out will create an imprint on your child’s memory, as well as your own.
Family values are more than just words, they are a way of life and the legacy that you hope to leave for generations to come. Each day that we live matters, so by focusing on the things we truly hold valuable in our lives leads to a healthy, thriving family. Our children can then pass on their family values to their children, and the cycle of life continues, with a rich, meaningful inheritance of honor. What are your family values? If you are not sure, then look at how you spend your time, money and energy. Then see if those things align with the legacy you want to leave. If not, no worries because today is a great day to start fresh!