My children are adults now, but when they were kids, I learned the importance of teaching them core values. I realized that if I didn’t teach them, they would automatically pick up the values of our culture: the beliefs that you have to climb the corporate ladder and make as much money as you can, that having a nice car and lots of material possessions will make you happy. Are these really the values we want guiding our children?
Core values are like a navigation system that guides our actions and behaviors. They are the ethics we live by, the principles that affect our decisions and determine our choices. Your children’s core values will affect every decision they make from the home to the workforce. Helping them develop core values is essential for a life of purpose and significance. Here are 7 core values that could change your children’s lives.
Being in relationships and navigating the challenges and blessings that come from interdependence with others makes us healthy and well-rounded individuals. We were created for community, and in community, we bring balance to each other. It’s important to teach our kids to relate to others in healthy ways. Asking for your child’s input into minor decisions like where to eat and celebrating each family member’s special moments teaches this core value.
Life comes with disappointments and setbacks. It’s important for kids to learn how to overcome painful obstacles. Learning to see them as opportunities for growth teaches our kids to feel powerful instead of like victims to circumstance. Rising above your own disappointments and staying hopeful is the most powerful way to teach resilience. At times, great opportunities come when our kids come face-to-face with letdowns. Talk through their disappointments with them. Show compassion and empathy for what they’re going through. Then brainstorm with them for positive steps forward.
Learning to see [obstacles] as opportunities for growth teaches our kids to feel powerful instead of like victims to circumstance.
A healthy respect for self will allow your children to say no when they need to. Knowing it’s okay to say no when pressured to do something they don’t want to do validates that their needs are important, too. And honoring someone else’s “no” validates that others’ needs are important as well. Healthy boundaries result from respect for self and are essential for a healthy life.
4. A Relationship with God
For our family, it has been important to teach our children the importance of having a life in connection with God. I’ve come to the conclusion that the one who would know the most about life is the God who created us. A life centered around God brings stability and strength. Awareness of and dependence on God helps us remember that life is bigger than us. Taking kids to church, praying with them, reading the Bible together, and talking about how you relate to God are great ways to teach this core value.
Integrity means I can be counted on to fulfill a commitment I made to the best of my ability. It also means I can admit when I’ve overcommitted and can make amends for how it affects other people. Additionally, integrity means honesty, trustworthiness, and faithfulness. Repeatedly following through with your own commitments to your kids shows them first-hand the value of integrity. And when you find yourself breaking your commitments to them, it’s important to apologize and strategize about how to keep your word in the future. These are occasions to grow in your own integrity, which teaches them the true value of being a trustworthy person.
6. A Strong Work Ethic
In order for our children to become successful in life, a strong work ethic is essential. It’s how you respect your bosses, co-workers, and customers. Teaching kids to do regular chores, help prepare dinner, serve their grandparents, and volunteer at church or school are all ways to instill a good work ethic in children.
7. Dreaming and Imagining Possibilities
Having the freedom to dream and imagine encourages a child to tap into his or her potential. Children will find they are capable of so much when given the opportunity to dream. Life has a way of resisting these dreams and will bring balance to outrageous ideas. But your support, along with your guidance and wisdom, will enable your kids to realize great potential.
What are some of the core values you want to teach your kids?