Saturday, July 2, 2011

Teaching Values and Morals in an Immoral World

A recent conversation I had with a acquaintance revealed a disturbing trend among high school students. He noted a heightened disrespect toward teachers and rules in the public school system. For my friend, he found it much easier to leave his post at the neighborhood high school and teach in the prison system for incarcerated youth charged as adults. Imagine my shock when he told me it was easier to teach in the prison than in the public school. Why would it be easier? Because the incarcerated youth are not allowed to disobey or disrupt class. If they do, an armed guard escorts them back to their prison cell. School is a privilege to the incarcerated youth, not a right. The teacher compared that to what happens in the public high school where teens constantly disrupt the classroom with no real consequence.

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.


Best Blogger TipsComment here Best Blogger Tips

b:include data='post' name='comments'