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Passing on values to our children

November 9th, 2010

A couple of weekends ago, I did a workshop on the topic of “Helping our children grow spiritually.”

This topic of children’s spiritual growth has grown in popularity recently due to the concern of teenagers leaving their faith once they are out of high school.

Even though I’ve taught this workshop before, I always research and update my material, in case there are any new ideas or groundbreaking research that I can share with the parents.

You know what? Everything I’ve read about passing on values, whether it be spiritual values, moral values, character values…all comes down to one thing. And it’s the same thing that I’ve been teaching to parents in my workshops.

There is nothing new.

Do you know what the key is to passing on values to our children?

There is no secret.

The most effective way to teach the values you want your children to embrace is to live them out in your daily lives.

That’s it.

Every book, article, research conclusion that I’ve read all say the same thing.

It’s not the church, it’s not the programs, it’s not the school…it’s us.

It’s our modeling, it’s our transparent lives as parents that our children see everyday that is teaching them values.

Have you noticed that children mimic their parent’s mannerism? It’s uncanny how my husband and son has the same type of smirk when they smile. We did not purposely teach our son to smile that way, but with 18 years of living in the same house, all sorts of things, both good and bad, inevitably rub off from parent to child.

Now, you may be thinking, “I am not perfect. Does that mean my kids will turn out bad?”

I don’t want you to think that you’ve failed miserably if you are not living a perfect life. Of course we are not, and cannot be perfect. There is no perfect person, there is no perfect parent.

However, there are good parents.

What I tell parents in the workshop is to ask yourselves three questions:

Do I practice the kind of values that I want my children to have?

Do I admit my faults without excuses when I fall short?

Am I continually striving to be the kind of person I want my children to be?

We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to keep growing.

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