Why are values important?
Values are your beliefs and philosophies in life—things that are important to you.
Your values determine your priorities in life, your interactions with people, and how your conduct yourself. .
Your values can look like this: being supportive, confident, caring, loving, respectful, considerate, or being dynamic, fun, curious, generous, patient, honest, or taking responsibility for your actions, sharing, having freedom, gratitude, loyalty, or being well organised …
Your values change as you move through life
Let’s have a look at the values when you finished school and start working: your values may be career success and financial independence, overseas travels, renting rather than buying a house.
However when you got married and had children, your values may have been having more time with your children while they are young. Therefore by working 70 hours a week and being away from home often challenges your values.
When your values are not aligned, this could result in you being unhappy and feeling conflicted. Your value of wanting to be at home with your children / family may result in you adjusting your lifestyle in a way that supports your values.
How to instill values in children
Values are passed on to our children every second of the day, through daily interactions with them, and interactions with the family, the community and society in general.
Children are exceptionally quick learners. They learn by observing your interactions with the people around you and the wider community, how you behave as well as through your beliefs and values. They believe what you believe; your thoughts, words and actions will influence them, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Your actions stem from your core values of who you are as a person, as well as your actions and reactions based on your perceptions and interpretation of situations/information… these are your beliefs.
Therefore the best time to introduce values to your children is from the moment they can understand speech.
So how can you impart your values to your children?
- Communicating with them is always a good start. Share with them the values of honesty, integrity and trust, and explain to them the consequences of not telling the truth, or lack of honesty and trust.
- Instill empathy and compassion in them. When you are volunteering for a project, encourage your children to be part of the project as well. Modeling these values is the best way to guide them to understand this concept. Explain to them what you stand for and the reason why you are helping out on this particular project.
- Watching TV programs or movies together. Use the program or movie to open up discussions about the values portrayed in the show, whether it is for or against the values you stand for. Use the programs as an example for discussions and share your views with your children.
- Your daily interactions with friends, families, television, social media and the community will shape their values as well.
Being the parents, you are closest person in your children’s lives; and you are the most powerful source of guidance for your children. Be there to guide them, support them, and most importantly model the values that you want to see in your children.