One of the biggest challenges I face as a parent is how to instill good values and morals in my own children. When our children are faced with bad behavior glamorized by famous people on a regular basis, it seems old-fashioned to have morals. I have friends that believe instilling our idea of morality on our children is wrong and doesn't allow for the child's freedom and growth. I believe values such as honesty, integrity, respect, love, forgiveness, etc. never get old. I once told one of my children that it was better to take an F in a class than it was to cheat. I have watched too many parents hover around their children and interfere, sometimes unethically, so their children will not suffer a bad consequence. Recently, I told a teacher I thought she had been fair with my child in allowing him extra time for assignments when he didn't have a good excuse to need the extra time. I asked her to post a grade as is which was not the A or B I wanted my child to get, but the C he deserved. Was it hard? Yes! That meant my child would not get into a prestigious college or be eligible for an academic scholarship. But, as angry as that child was with me and his teacher, the lesson I hoped he learned was far more valuable than the scholarships he could receive. My actions let him know that integrity and hard work was more important than a good grade.
How do we teach morals and values? I wish I had the magic answer. What worked for one of my children was a complete failure for another. However, my next article will give some practical suggestions on how to teach specific values. I wonder how the financial collapse in the country would have turned out different if the Bernie Madoff's in the world would have had a moral compass.
One book referred to me many years ago, though I don't own a copy and it's been over ten years since I read it, I remember Teaching Your Child Values had some great advice without being overly religious. Lucky, I was able to find the book was still in print.