5 Values Every Parent Should Teach Their Child

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There are many different parenting tip articles and blog posts out there. I realize that, which is why I choose to avoid writing too many posts about good ways to parent. However, I do believe there are five values that every kid needs to learn as they grow up in order to live well with each other in the present and the future.
This is being written from a Christian perspective, but outside of the first value, the rest of them can be seen as valuable for any child; whether they are raised in a faith based home or not.
Every child should learn:
1) The Value of Prayer: Prayer is an important part of the Christian faith and many other faith traditions. For some, prayer has become a wish list, as if they are requesting special things from Santa. God doesn’t operate in that way and I believe we are leading our kids astray when we look to God as a genie and not our Creator who has ultimate control. Prayer should be seen as a way to connect with God and know Him deeper. Bono, the lead singer of U2 with awesome sunglasses on 24/7, shared in an interview: “I pray so I can know the will of God.”  In order for prayer to be meaningful, we need to place the value on connecting with God and not on what we receive from God because we pray.
2) The Value of Empathy: In a world where apathy is running rampant, we need to equip our children with the value of empathy. Merriam-Webster defines empathy as, “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings”.
This is a value that is important for any person to embrace, but kids need to learn it as soon as possible. While kids are in school they will interact with peers who come from different backgrounds and family situations which will require them to understand why kids might act differently than they do. In fact, it is valuable for them to understand that whatever they learn in their home, it might not be what others are learning in their home. Every child should learn that embracing people in their differences is an important part of growing up.
3) The Value of Commitment: In a time when schedules are jam-packed with sports, scouts, camps, youth groups, church, jobs, etc. it is hard to find a healthy balance in figuring out which event or activity should get the highest priority. Since we are all facing this issue, a trend that has become more and more prevalent is people waiting to commit just in case something better comes up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but is it the best thing to have our kids feel like they don’t need to commit to things? I struggle with it. Even more so, there is the issue of kids or adults saying “Yes, I’ll be there”, but choosing to ignore their commitment to do something other than what they said they would do. Jesus told His disciples to “let their yes mean yes and their no mean no” so there wouldn’t be any confusion as to what they would be doing and they wouldn’t be caught breaking an oath (Matthew 5:33-37). If we allow our kids to break commitments or choose to be non-committal now, then how can we expect them to be committed later? It is a value to instill in them today.
4)  The Value of Accountability: We all know we have the perfect kid who can’t do anything wrong (hint: that’s sarcasm). If you really believe that, then you are delusional. If we allow that delusion to infiltrate how our kids are disciplined, then we are failing them. Every kid should be held accountable for their actions. Right now, my two year old is learning this. When he makes a mess, we will ask him “Who made the mess?” He will blame everyone else, even the dog, before he owns his spill. Yes, it may be cute, but he has to learn that he can’t blame others for the decision he made to throw his oatmeal on the floor. So, we tell him “No, you made the mess.” He then comes to acknowledge his mess and will “help” clean-up. We need to help our kids figure out it isn’t someone else’s fault. They make choices and they have to own them. If we don’t hold them accountable for their actions and place blame on others too, it teaches them they don’t have to be responsible for their mistakes and that is doing a disservice to them and the world they will be living in.
5) Their Value: Every kid needs to know they are worth something. Every child should know they have something to offer the world they live in. Every kid should be able to express their self artistically, spiritually, verbally, etc. When we tell them to put their crayons away or close their books or stop doing silly things, we just might be hindering their gift. We need to give every child a role to play in church, our home, in the community, and other places so they can discover their potential to lead. Find a way to empower your child or any child you have a chance to influence.  Speak love and positivity into their lives in order to enhance their own personal view of themselves as positive and valuable.
There are other values that could be instilled, but these five are keys for success in the lives of our children. It will help them to be better now and in the future going forward. May all children discover their God-given potential and may the adults in their lives be positive influences as they journey towards adulthood.

QUESTION: What other value would you add to this list? 

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