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You and Me Against the World

Do you ever feel that the world is out to get your children? All we have to do is pick up a newspaper, watch television, or even look around the toy store to see how much modern society tempts our children to respond to the baser instincts of greed, lust, and violence. As parents, we have a responsibility to identify those things which hinder our children from enjoying the lifestyle we want for them, and to arm our kids against these “enemies.” In short, we must identify our values and communicate them effectively to our kids by living what we want them to learn. Here are a few suggestions that could change your life, and your future.

Talk – constantly. Never overlook the power of your presence – your time and your words. Don't save it for a planned event or a Hallmark moment; let your life be an ongoing conversation with your children. Take every opportunity to talk with your kids: in the morning while getting ready to go, in the car, when you’re sitting around at home, at bedtime – my favorite, and when you get up.

Manage your environment. Make the design of your home reflect your values. You will feel a great renewal of energy and purpose if you design your space to focus on the things that matter most to you and those you love. Does the art on your walls reflect what, or who, is important to you? Make places in your home for important activities – maybe a nook or even an entire room made extra comfortable just for talking with family and friends – without the tv, the computer, the phone, the iPad...

Live “in integrity.” Your life is composed of the present and the future; time. Devote your time to the things that are truly important to you and don’t allow your daily schedule to lie about who you really are. Make sure that a person reviewing what you said and did today would be able to get a clear picture of who you are and what you are about. A popular song admonishes that “it’s what you do and not what you say” and that is what living in integrity is all about.

Out with the bad. To the greatest extent possible, eliminate influences that don’t support your values and goals. Don’t view movies or television programs that are offensive to you, and don’t allow your children to view them either. Don’t fail to notice subtle assaults on family values either – unfortunately not all toys, animated shows, and video games support the values most of us want to teach our kids.

In with the good. Your children learn about you by watching how you spend your time and your money. They learn even more when you include them in the worthwhile activities you engage in. When you have rousted the unsupportive elements from your life, don’t forget to replace them with good activities, good things, and good people. Participate in activities that help you become the person you want to be and build healthy relationships with people who will support your efforts. Teach your children to do the same – these are habits that need to be established early.

If we want to teach generosity instead of greed, purity instead of lust, and kindness instead of violence, we must start early; we must be diligent; and we must not leave it up to somebody, or something, else. Whatever you decide to teach your children, remember that lessons taught with love are much more readily absorbed by the heart.

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