We all want to teach our children our values. But how? I wrote (briefly) about values in a previous post about creating rules for your family.
But how else can we teach our kids our values? Possibly by just living them.
Sounds so easy, doesn't it? If "children learn what they live", then if we parents live our values, they'll learn them and live them. But how? That's the hard part. No really....that's the REALLY hard part.
Say you value "honesty". How do you live that value? By being honest. Simple, right? Except, here's the rub. The only time you can REALLY demonstrate that you value honesty is when you're tempted to lie because, if you tell the truth, you'll face some undesirable consequence or negative outcome.
It's what we expect of our children. If they've done something "wrong", we expect them to be honest and tell us, even at the risk of some kind of punishment or negative outcome. Haven't we told our children that, while they'll still get a punishment for whatever they've done, it would be worse if they lied? If they broke Mom's favourite vase and lied about it, they'd be grounded for longer than if they just admitted to breaking the vase in the first place?
For us grownups, it would be like admitting that you were in fact speeding through that school zone. Or that you did cheat on that test. Or that you did (already) tell a lie to someone to avoid some other negative consequence.
Essentially, we only demonstrate what we truly value when there is a risk that living them will come with a price. That's the price of the value we profess.
It's not easy. Or cheap. In the long run, the price of not living them will potentially be paid by our children as they struggle to learn to live them.