“We try so hard to instruct our children in all the right things―teaching good from bad, explaining choices and consequences―when in reality most lessons are learned through observation and experience. Perhaps we'd be better off training our youth to be highly observant.” - Richelle E. Goodrich
As parents, we often find ourselves thinking about what we need to teach our children, and how. From getting them education in the best schools, to getting the right kind of educational toys for them to explore learning with at home, grappling with all of these questions and doubts is stressful to say the least.
However, along with the right kind of learning, we’re also constantly trying to understand the kind of physical and mental nourishment that we need to provide for them. While supporting physical growth is rather straightforward by getting them the right amount of exercise, outdoor play time, toys for kids or wooden toys, and allowing them to run around freely, mental growth is a rather tricky area.
Because it involves so many aspects, mental nourishment is something we need to constantly make an effort to be mindful about. Along with making sure we’re being a good parent to our child, we also need to make sure we impart the right kind of moral values for their mental nourishment, so they can carry those lessons around for all their lives too!
Although there are many ways that moral values can help your children, here are some surefire ways that imparting the right kind of moral education benefits your children.
- It will make them more confident and help them build a more positive character.
- It will help them distinguish better between what’s good and what’s bad.
- It will make them more humble.
- It will set social standards for them that they can adhere to, to live more meaningful lives as adults.
Here are some of the most important moral values that you should teach your children to make sure they are happy, content and kind adults.
One of the basic virtues that we teach our children is to respect elders. But what we need to add to this is to teach them how to respect equals as well as their elders, no matter their age, caste, colour, creed or social standing. And this is something that can’t be taught through words, but only through example. So remember to treat everyone around you with respect so your children learn to do the same and follow it through to their adult lives as well.
Another important moral value or virtue that can take your child a long way into their lives is honesty. Saying the truth in all aspects of life takes courage, so it’s one virtue that is also commended by other people. Again, it is something that you must teach through example by being honest to your children about your feelings, about their and your own behaviour and about other people.
A moral value that we also forget to practice sometimes in life is that of gratitude. It’s something we should remember to practice and also teach our children to inculcate in their daily lives. Gratitude for the smallest blessings in life can make them happier, more satisfied individuals. So teaching them gratitude is a good way to bring up healthier, more content adults.
Sharing is one virtue that they will only learn through example, so start them when they’re young. Teach them the art and happiness of sharing by sharing whatever you have. Whether it’s food, stationery, or even parts of an educational toy you’re constructing together, show them the joy of sharing resources as well as responsibilities, so your child learns to take the virtue with them in all of their adult lives as well. Even when they’re learning by games or with learning toys with their friends or siblings, encourage them to share whatever they have, to show how doing things together with people is much more rewarding than keeping everything to yourself.
Empathy is one virtue that will go a long way to help your child adjust with other people more naturally. When they learn to empathise with people around them, they will be friendlier, understanding, compassionate and be able to relate well with others, which is also one of the most likeable qualities in an adult.
Compassion or sympathy is one of the virtues that comes once your child learns how to empathise with other people. While empathy is the ability to put themselves in another’s shoes, sympathy can help them recognise other people’s misfortunes so they can lend a helping hand to the other in times of need.
Equality is something that should be taught especially in this day and age so they don’t learn to discriminate against people based on their gender, class or caste. To treat all people as equals is one of the virtues that can help them learn from other people easily and without any hesitation.
This is probably one virtue we can learn from our children more than we can teach it to them. Children are generally more accepting of the way things are (except for when it comes to the toy we refuse to buy them.) But otherwise, they can be taught to be more accepting of what life gives them. This also goes hand in hand with gratitude. To be grateful for how things are, instead of always wishing for something better is one virtue we can all teach our children, and in turn learn from them in the process as well.
Kindness is a virtue that could make the world a better place. So it’s always good to teach young minds the art of being kind to all creatures around them. And especially, to treat oneself with kindness. Because that’s the only way they can learn to be kind to others. It’s an underrated virtue but is helpful to bring them up as helpful, trustworthy and self loving individuals.
10. Self Control
Self control might not come to mind when thinking of moral values, but in this day and age of abundance, and options to choose from in all areas of life, self control is a good virtue to teach them young. This will help them stay humble and be able to live a life within their means instead of going overboard or getting involved in the many temptations that our modern life has to offer.
Courage in young children can help them stand up for what’s right for them and for loved ones. This is also a good virtue to have, and again can be best taught by example. It should also be encouraged when they happen to show it naturally. For example, if they stand up for injustice done to their best friend or sibling even at home, instead of scolding them, it will be nicer to applaud the act of courage for their loved ones.
One thing that will go a long way and follow into their adult lives is perseverance. Perseverance and the determination to achieve their goals and ambitions is something that will help them become their best selves, and in turn, inspire others around them as well.
Moral values should be taught to children at a young age, so they can learn and take those values with them into adulthood. However, it’s true that it’s tough to teach a child to be courageous, or determined, or compassionate or empathetic. The only good way is to teach by example.
Since it’s an already established fact that children learn what they see, it’s best to show them the values you want them to learn by demonstrating them and practising them in your daily lives as well.
Another way to inculcate good habits and moral values in your children is to narrate your own experiences through stories, or fairy tales to them that could help them relate to, or look up to real people or fictional characters that help them become the best versions of themselves. You should also make sure you always praise and reward good behaviour and whenever they display a good moral value in use, practically.
Another way to make sure your children learn the right things is by monitoring their screen time so they don’t end up consuming content that might be bad for them, in terms of learning the wrong kind of behaviour, talks or more.
In conclusion, be sure you communicate the importance of moral values to your children, and continue to practise the same in front of them since the best way you can teach them is by example.