Parenting is a task-minded responsibility. But rather than check off the
things you want your children to do, how can you shape who you want your
children to be?
Katie Shepherd with Meaningful Moments shares ways to teach your kids
value, and add meaning to those everyday family responsibilities.
The first step is to STOP and THINK. The hard part here is to
actually STOP being so busy and just getting by in your parenting, and
STOP and THINK. STOP to identify the values that you hold. You can use an
online source to find list of values, or sometimes finding what you are
opposed to helps you to identify what you value.
How to identify values in something you are currently doing: Assess what
you are currently doing with your children whether it’s chores or activities.
A lot of what we do with, or encourage our kids to do, is something we
enjoy, and want to share with them. That’s good, but if we stop there we
don’t teach as much as we could.
Example: Teaching your kids to ski, because you love to ski is
good. BUT you can enforce some values behind learning the skill of skiing.
Hard work: trying hard, earning money for the slopes; Love of nature: being
outside, beauty of the mountain; Determination: getting back up when you
The second step is to SLOW DOWN. TAKE TIME. This part is going
to take some time, it won’t be done in 10 min. Take that time, it will be
worth it! Identify what values apply to you, and what personal experiences
you’ve had so that you can effectively TEACH the value. Provide a vivid
example that describes HOW you learned the value, and WHY it is important
to you. This is a VERY important step! We learn best from personal
examples and stories.
How to learn values from others, and use their example: Share stories
about relatives or friends (NOT comparison!) to motivate or encourage.
Stories should help them realize what is already inside them, and that they
can accomplish what you are teaching.
Example: In a time in my life when I’m thinking about returning
to college at age 32, I wonder if I have the determination in me to finish.
My great grandmother Maude Brannon was a woman before her time who
received her PHD at age 53, graduated with an academic average higher
than any previous graduate. She read and spoke 9 languages, including
Braille and Latin. She gives me, her posterity that never met her, an
increase of strength and ability to still accomplish my goals by using the
example of her values of hard work , determination and learning.
The third and final step is to GO for it! Actively assess what you
are currently doing and what you need to change. With a focus on what you
want to teach, you can effectually teach your values to your children.
How to Teach the value once you’ve identified it: As your children age,
increase the intensity of what they are doing, so they can look back on
simple moments and draw strength to accomplish what you are teaching.
Examples: Hard work: Have little chores, then more difficult ones.
They will gain the confidence of being able to do something they thought
they couldn’t. So when it’s time for ski lessons and they are having a
difficult time, they will be able to recall other moments when they were
discouraged, but triumphed, and will keep working at learning to ski.
Commitment: Teach your kids that once they make a decision they need to
commit to it. In as simple things as what to wear, eat, do, or play, you can
teach them to make a decision and stick with it. This will help them commit
in relationships, extra activities they try, religious efforts, and things that
may be difficult in life.