October 28, 2006

Values, Morals, Ethics, and Traditions

Tools to Help Kids Make Great Decisions

We must eliminate from our minds a few phrases when we are making decisions about how we will be raising and teaching our children. We must erase sayings like: "When I was a kid..." and "If I had done that when I was a kid, my dad would have..." or "Back when we were in school they used to..." Thos phrases do not help young peopleto make decisions!
"Because I said so!" Teaches kids nothing about how to make good decisions!

Now, this advice may sound odd coming from a man who is an avowed believer in traditions. However, there is an important distinction to make here. We must hold onto the old ways of doing things, if, and only if, they are valid, meaningful and if they produce the desired results.

Honesty is a good example of an “old way” that that I feel ought to be held tightly to. It is an ancient idea that has been taught to generations of children and used by generations of allages to produce very positive outcomes. We ought to keep using honesty and teaching it to our children for only one reason; because it is a concept that works.
Use Effective Parenting Techniques!

In this same light, we must be willing to move toward, and use, new and valid ideas and methods of raising our children if those new ideas make meaningful and positive changes in our children’s behavior. We need to keep our eyes open for new methods and techniques that will allow us to work “magic” with our kids.

As parents and teachers, it is imperative that we have sound behavioral, moral, spiritual, ethical, or legal justifications for the methods we are using to teach our children. We must be able to explain to our kids in a very logical way, why we are asking them to behave in a particular manner. In essence, we must not only decide: 1) WHAT it is we want our kids to do, but we must also decide, 2) WHY we want them to do it! Once we have made those two all-important determinations, then we must find ways of communicating these expectations and reasons for making decisions to our children. We must communicate those ideas to our children so that they can make great decisions for themselves.

"Because it was done to me," is never a good enough reason.

In my book, Parenting with Dignity you will read about innovative ideas and concepts for teaching your children how to make great decisions based upon sound values, morals, ethics, and proven concepts. Some of these techniques will fly in the face of the old adage “when I was a kid . . .”

In some of the methods presented in Parenting with Dignity you will realize that really great parents often must act on behalf of their children, even though it requires that they do some things that fly in the face of doing again what was done to them when they were kids!

There have been a ton of mistakes made in the past and we are doomed to repeat them if we are not careful to think long and hard about the justification for duplicating those actions with our kids, i.e. 1) What do we want them to do? and 2) Why do we want them to?

History demonstrates why we cannot just “do to our kids what was done to us”. Two events from American History demonstrate the obvious problems with doing what has always been done before.

Slavery was not only common in America, but it was also legal, and most early Americans accepted it. We certainly would not advocate the continuation of the practice of slavery today simply because it “was done before”.

Neither would we teach our children that women should be second-class citizens in the United States today, even though they were not even legally recognized under the Constitution until the 19th Amendment was adopted in the early 20th century. Simply saying that women should not vote only because they never had in the past was a ludicrous idea.

Likewise, it is foolish for us to assume that our children should always learn in exactly the same way that their parents were taught.

Parenting with Dignity is not proposing the abandoning of all former standards of teaching and raising young people. Rather, the book is saying that we ought to make the standards logical and explainable in a reasoned sort of way that makes sense to parents and children alike.

In this book you will read about situations where parents have sometimes risked going beyond “what has always been done before” in order to change a child’s life. Please read this book with an open mind and an open heart to appreciate what it really means to be a parent.

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