We live in a time when the line between right and wrong has become harder to understand and make clear to our children. As we move more toward a culture with no absolutes, how do we teach our children to stand for what is right?
This recent post from Tony Dungy’s All Pro Dad program gives five great ideas for helping our children stand for what is right, and to help them push back against a culture that is basically telling them that everything is acceptable.
1. They have to know what is right.
It is our responsibility as parents to instill the values of our family in our children. It is important that we teach our children about integrity so they have a clear source of what is right and wrong. We also need to show them that what we say, we believe.
2. Practice talking about values, ideals, and standards.
Learning best occurs when we practice it in life. As parents, we have to look for “teachable moments” so that we can help our children by modeling the values, ideals, and standards that we believe. We need to ask our children hard questions. We also should expect them to be able to explain themselves when it becomes necessary.
3. Practice good behavior as a family.
We must live our faith and values out loud. Our children should see that we believe in something and that we live that belief out in our everyday life. It isn’t enough to simply attend church on Sunday and then go through our week without the values we espouse to believe. We have to live it and talk about it everyday with our children so that they see it is real.
4. Pick them up gently when they fall.
There will be times when all of us fail and fall. It is important to show compassion to our children when they fall. The quote – “We should lead our children and not drive them” – is very true. It is our role to model God’s grace and mercy to our children. It is equally important for us to own up to our failures with our children and be real about our own errors and mistakes. Our children can learn equally powerful lessons through our own transparency and honesty about our mistakes.
5. Make sure your children learn to respect people with different values.
If we are not preparing our children to respect the differences in others while teaching them to be strong in their own beliefs, we are failing them. Our children will one day enter a world where their own beliefs are challenged. They need to be prepared to stand for what they know is right, but to do so in a loving way that respects the different beliefs of others without compromising their own values. We must teach them to give respect in order to gain it.
We all live in an environment at CMDS in which we, as parents and the school, share similar values. However, there will come a day when our students leave the doors of CMDS and go into a world that might be very different. If that doesn’t happen in 7th grade, it will happen eventually, for sure.
As a father of three children who seem to be growing up so very fast, I will tell you there is no time like the present to begin talking with and teaching your children. The time will pass very quickly. If values have not been instilled before the teenage years, it becomes increasingly difficult to teach them. The elementary years are the most moldable times in the life of your children.
All Pro Dad Huddles at CMDS
Parts of this article came from a recent post on allprodad.com. CMDS hosts All Pro Dad huddles throughout the school year, typically on the first Thursday morning of each month. Dads, uncles, grandfathers and special friends of JK-6th Grade students are invited to join us for donuts and some great time of conversation and fellowship with our children.
Christ Methodist Day School first opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. We encourage you to come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.