Our values and how we are following them, living them sets an example for our children. Everyone should know that. Many parents are already doing that: Consciously.
Why is it then, that the society is still often a cold place?
Selfish people, not caring for anyone but themselves, putting so much emphasis on appearance, bitching about everyone who looks different. People who don‘t care about anything that doesn‘t serve them and their needs.
This question comes from our guest author D. Reflection on values, this is what this article is about.
The „me-me-me society“
When other parents are telling me what their children are up to in their spare time, which courses they take, which languages they are already speaking, what they are learning, I almost every time feel the urge to ask: „And? Which values are you instilling in your children? Which values matter to you? Are you aware of your values?“
Hardly anyone is talking about that. But it‘s so important!
What are your children like? Not: What have they achieved so far.
Some may think now: „But this goes without saying.“ Really?
If that would be the case, why doesn‘t it reflect in our society and most of all in schools?
Let‘s have a look at empathy: The ability to share someones feelings and to act on that. Feeling when someone gets hurt by my words or actions, seeing that someone needs help. Empathy and compassion are getting more precious and rare.
Often replaced in schools by the word: Mobbing. And no, I don‘t think mobbing hasn‘t changed over the years. I have the feeling it is getting worse.
Why? I believe that empathy and compassion are values that need to be lived at home, by the parents. Children need to see that and feel that every day. Social media, smartphones and WhatsApp & Co. make it easier to hurt people, without even noticing or thinking about it.
Parents who are actually commited to their values, living them mindfully in every day life. Parents who show empathy and compassion towards their children and others, are promoting these values to be instilled in their children.
Demonstrating values! But at the same time, it is still necessary to tell our children: „Take care of xy, play with him / her. Please help him / her with the homework. Support him / her when he / she is being bullied at school, or someone is laughing about her / him. Be there for others, be kind.“
This already starts with gossiping:
A little while ago, I was sitting on a park bench. Two mothers were sitting next to me, their playing children close. Those mothers were gossiping about another mom, Nasty comments were exchanged, they were laughing about her. Talking about her weight, her clothes and her hair. Spiteful and hurtful comments. But the children playing close to their mothers do have ears! They could hear every single nasty word. And I believe they are influenced by conversations like that.
„My mother is talking badly about others. It is ok to make nasty comments, it‘s funny!“ And this is where it starts: The toxic cycle.
How we are treating other people has a huge impact on our children!
Sustainability and using resources wisely:
To me it was always important to teach my children: Money doesn‘t grow on trees! You cannot have everything you want.
There are poor and sick people in our society and we need to help them. When something is broken, try to repair it first. Not throwing it away straight away, replacing it with something new. Meat doesn‘t grow on trees, meat comes from cruel livestock farming.
Mindfulness, awareness towards nature and the environment and every living creature.
If WE, the parents, to not teach our children about that, living mindfully and show awareness: Who will? We need to be the example! We are responsible. How we are treating nature now, will be our legacy to our children.
I really wish that all parents would install these and other important values in their children. Values deeply influence everything in our lives. But for a value to be truly our own and thus our children, we need to reflect on that. Not just talking about them – living them, every day.
What I would really like, too: More of that in schools! Not just teaching math’s, languages, sports, biology etc. but talking about values, talking to our children about empathy, talk to them about environment protection, help them to be more aware, strengthen their social behavior, teach them about mindfulness, respect and compassion.
Strengthen values and making sure, that they are being followed in schools.
PS by Bea:
Would you like to share which values are important to you and your children? How are you instilling those values? We would really like to hear from you.