Love for others. Responsibility. Fairness. Trust. Courage. Thankfulness. Honesty. Respect. Leadership. These are some of the values that my husband and I want our children to embrace and live by. Listing them is easy. Ensuring that our children are living up to our expectations and applying those values as they grow older is much more difficult.
We believe by consistently exposing our children to people with similar values as our own and by always talking with them about those traits, we will ingrain in them the kind of values and morals we hope to instill in them. I always point out to my 2-year-old, Bryce, whenever someone does something nice for him, by saying, “Wow—that was really nice how they …” We always try to focus on the positive actions happening around us and within our family, and while sometimes it is impossible to completely ignore the negative, we try to only speak briefly about it and move on. We also believe being involved in any positive organizations together as a family can teach our children so much.
My family attends church fairly regularly. We enjoy our church family and everything that goes along with being a part of the church. I believe being a part of the church has impacted my children tremendously. My 12-year-old, Ethan has been involved in volunteering in many different capacities, including serving the homeless meals and raising money for an effort to end Malaria. Bryce has experienced his mom and dad (and older brother) greeting and having conversations with a variety of people, and he now walks around during greeting time, on his own, shaking hands with congregation members and offering them a sincere and hearty good morning!
Baseball season is currently getting underway in our household. My husband is coaching Ethan’s team and I am coaching Bryce’s team (3- & 4-year-olds playing baseball—I’m sure you can imagine the entertainment). We feel it is important to be involved in our children’s lives in order to model what we expect from them. We are constantly modeling positive interactions and gratitude to those around us. We always try to focus on the positive things that are happening on and off the field and we often talk about those things.
Something as simple as the way we, as parents, act in public (grocery stores, restaurants, library, etc) is a simple way to show our children how to act appropriately. Children become what surrounds them. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what I say or tell them to do, if I don’t portray those same traits and expectations. The old saying, “Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying” rings so true.
I encourage you to get out in the world and get involved in making it a better place to live—as a family! Model how to behave in group situations. Surround your children with people with the same values and morals as you. Your child is watching—be the adult you want your child to grow up to be!