Every child needs to be taught a simple, clear, unambiguous code of conduct or morality if they are ever to become a functional member of society who can comfortably take a firm position and act decently and responsibly through life.
A child simply does not yet possess the intellectual capability, experience, or stability of character necessary to be able to decide for themselves on important matters, as is expected of adults.
Parents are not only expected to but are obliged to provide their children with a FIRM MORAL FOUNDATION.
REFLECTION: Think about whether you agree or disagree with the following statements: discuss them in the family.
•The passing on of morals and values should be left up to the parents only.
•Telling your children over and over again about your values and morals is the only way they will learn them and it saves the children from making unnecessary mistakes.
• If a child obeys you then you can be sure that they have embraced your values.
•Modelling is the most lasting way of transmitting values.
•No one system is right for everyone. People have to forge their own set of values. So I’ll just let my children do and think what they want without interfering in any way; and eventually they will turn out all right.
•The whole aim of values transmission is to teach children to think and act for themselves on the basis of sound moral principles.
•So long as a child/teenager lives at home the parent(s) must always make the choices for the child/teenager.
The following passage from 2 Timothy 4; 1- 5 gives several key points for reflection and self-examination.
Take each phrase, one after another, and reflect on how it can be applied to “Nurturing Christian Values in the Home”.
“Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom; proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching. The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service.”
TIPS FOR TRAMSMITTING VALUES & MORALS
• Maintain positive relationships – listen to and talk with your teenagers. Show a real interest in their lives. Praise them often. Love them in words and deeds.
•Model your faith – talk with them about God’s loving presence in our lives – in crises, at moments of important decisions, in sadness and in joy. Pray with them and let them see you praying.
•Children learn by imitation, by seeing the right thing being done, not just by being told what the right thing is; transmit socially acceptable values and behaviours by living them.
•Teach them manners; to be courteous and thankful. Use every opportunity to be yourself courteous, thankful etc and speak to them about this.
•Involve your family in thinking more deeply about moral issues and dilemmas. Look at the beliefs, values, rules for behaviour and definitions of “the good life” that we see every day in advertising and popular TV shows. What values and decisions are truly life-giving?
• Provide structure. Children need boundaries and limits. They need to know when they cross the line. Insist on this gently and firmly. This is very hard for parents to do sometimes. Teach them the consequences of their actions, and react to unacceptable behaviours involving the family.
•Encourage them to make informed judgments. Help them to understand the various forces that influence our choices, teach them about discernment – how to choose the right thing amongst the alternatives open to them – help them to think ahead and see the consequences of possible actions
•Involve your family in service – encourage acts of generosity and concern for others both in the home and in the wider community. Ask your teenager to help a younger sibling with homework etc. Requiring children to perform duties regularly at home demonstrates the value of contributing to the common good of the family.
•Encourage them to look for examples of where the Church and society is reaching out to the poor and marginalised – and to participate in this work.
(Material for this article obtained from various sources including the Internet) – Archdiocesan Catechetical Office