Whatever it is that you value most highly, whatever morals, ethics, or character, whatever lifestyle, if you want to pass it on to your children, they need to see you living it out.
1. If we want to nurture value for literature and knowledge then our children need to see us reading. Maybe a big thick book or two in between the magazines; the news, a documentary or nature program in between our usual shows; a tab with another kind of site in between facebook and sales sites.
2. Is exercise important? Then they need to see us doing it! It's not about squeezing it in while they're sleeping or while they're at school, it's about them seeing us leave and return, seeing sweat, seeing our sit ups or waving as we run past the window. We started something a while ago at our house when either of us returns from any kind of exercise what-so-ever, the other one says WELL DONE! when we return. And it stuck! It's not just cute and funny, it actually is even really encouraging when your three year old runs up and says WELL DONE MAMA! WELL DONE PAPPA!
3. Do you think your child should eat fruit and vegetables or have balanced meals? Or try new food before declaring it's inedible? Then they need to eat with us and see what we're eating. They need to see the vegetables on our plate and the variations of colour and texture. They need to see our faces when you put something new into our mouth's, and laugh with us when we surprised ourself that we actually liked it, or tasted and decided that it probably wasn't one of our favourite things!
4. Putting down our phone! Have you seen the clip Put Your Phone Down? If our children are to believe that life is what happens in the here and now then they need to see us living life and enjoying it, not our outstretched mobile.
5. Self worth, self value, self belief. Our children need to see us valuing yourself, our innate value as a human being . They need to see demonstrations of our belief in ourselves. See us daring to try new things and venture into the unknown. See that we have hope and belief that we will succeed
6. Kindness and generosity. Not just spending time with our closest family and friends at Christmas and buying them presents. What small acts of kindness and generosity is your child seeing you do? Who are you helping? If giving is important, then let your child know that you do that, an automatic money transfer each month that you never talk about is nothing that shapes them.
7. Seeing us fail or fall short, and seeing our response to that- that it's ok! That we've learned something, that we know how not to do it next time. Seeing us try again!
What's important for you?
It's time to get real and be creative! If it's morals and values, how can you make them tangible? What could they look like in praxis? If you want to do your part to take care of and sustain our environment, what can you do about that, with your children if it's treating all people as equals, with value and respect, how do you want to show your children that?
I'm an expat Brit, living in Sweden with my husband and our three kids: miss 5, miss 3 and my little man – 7 months old. As an expat, married to a Swede, and absolutely as a mother I feel like the LEARNING and RE-LEARNING just never stops.
Blogs at: Misplaced Brit