Values are often confused with moral conduct of behavior. Here are some modern values which can help children elevate their consciousness and grow into more aware beings.
Being Religious v/s Being Spiritual: Today, a lot of kids are not too keen about going shrines or religious discourses; however fascinating mythological tales may be, they are still esoteric in content and difficult for children to grasp. Religions can be very dogmatic and binding i.e. demand the follower to live by certain rules and within certain boundaries of moral conduct. Being spiritual gives kids more freedom of choice to find for themselves which ideals and concepts fit into their life and are aligned with their higher self. Being spiritual, atheist, agnostic is again a matter of choice and the idea is to allow a child the freedom of expression and not label them as moral/immoral, good/bad based on that. Being spiritual thus simply implies being in touch with their higher self which can be based on qualities of truth, authenticity, compassion, service to others and so on.
Awareness & Apathy: Narcissism has crept into the modern lifestyle and largely so because of the societal pressure. Following a certain code of conduct to fit into a “good child” label is too tasking. Also, the new age education system has become so demanding that it often isolates a child from what’s happening in real world. At times, they get so bogged down by these pressures that they just ‘don’t care.’ This provokes apathetic responsiveness towards others by them. We need to instill values of compassion such that they can just be aware and reflect on it so that next time they will be ‘actively compassionate’ and not just bystanders to someone’s pain or discomfort.
Acceptance: Acceptance is an attitude of complete non-judgement. Bullying and ragging are common in school/college life and a child can get socially anxious or awkward for being ridiculed or not fitting in with their peers. It’s essential to help a child develop an attitude of ‘acceptance’ i.e. accepting those different from you, befriend or just get to know people from various walks of life. This will help them in adapting to different cultures, conditions, classes and work environments in later life. Also if differences or dislike does creep in towards someone and they cannot be comfortable with, they could simply be and let the other be. They can avoid being judgmental or label others solely on their individual experience of incompatibility and should keep respectful boundaries to maintain harmony.
Dignity for All: Every specie on the planet is essential for ‘balance’ and deserves to be treated with dignity. Make a child aware how we are all connected to plants, animals, birds, cosmic energies and how each of these are precious and beautiful in their own way. Caring for the environment is a very rewarding experience as it makes a child compassionate. Going green in simple ways like recycling used paper, donating toys, minimizing plastic use, saving water, planting trees can keep them rooted and connected to the society at large.
Which are some of your values that help you live in harmony and adapt to those around you? Share the values you want to pass on to your kids and get featured on the blog.
A child stealing material things is an underlying need for love and attention. Here are gentle ways in which you can help your child evolve from this negative behavioral tendency.
Identify the reason/cause: Identify the cause or reason because of which your child is stealing from you. It’s often an attention seeking behavior and an underlying need for love which is unfulfilled. So they start substituting money for love and end up giving more importance to material possessions that can be bought. It could perhaps be that they are not getting their rightful recognition in family, latent anger at a parent or sibling who is being pampered more than them. Children often steal because of peer pressure or ragging/bullying they face in school or social situations so comply to be part of a group. Stealing could also be because of a lack of self-control, the thrill of rebelling against set social norms of behavior. Maybe they can’t identify between right/wrong and preschoolers often do it out of curiosity rather than a habit. An older child or teen however, needs immediate attention and needs to be gently explained about right/wrong behavior in any given situation concerning what’s “mine” and “other persons”.
Introspect on Parenting Style: Children notice parent’s behavior and follow the example in front of them. So as a parent or influential figure in the child’s life, introspect if you avoid paying for things even though you can afford them. Do you hoard “freebies” from hotels or any other public place out of a sense of false entitlement? Do you avoid tipping because you’ve paid service tax? Identify and re-evaluate what’s your relationship with money to set a more acceptable example in front of your child. Also check if you’re a miser and give your child less pocket-money that keeps him away from enjoying his school/college life. Are you strict/angry/in-attentive when it comes to pampering your child? And if you’re someone who loathes the rich or have negative feelings about money or those who are affluent – you’re creating a prejudice on your child’s mind. So instead develop an attitude of gratitude and abundance as gaining that affluent stature involves optimism and a lot of relentless work.
Ways to transform: The best way to transform this situation is to talk/communicate without judging and give your child a chance. Clear the air about right/wrong and also about ownership – things that are theirs and those that belong to someone else or things that are commonly owned by everyone in the family. Also explain to them about ‘entitlement’ what they are naturally entitled to as citizens and what they have to pay for in every social/professional setting. As a simple exercise, send them to a shop to buy something and check if they give you back the exact change. Teach them about savings and individual pocket money and buy them a piggy bank to help them build their own. Avoid labels of “bad child” “troublemaker” and instead reward good behavior with love and praise. Avoid being too dramatic and ensure you keep this conversation private. Don’t be ashamed as it kills child’s morale and instead be patient and appreciative of how good he is otherwise.
Which are some of the ways in which you can help your child give up stealing? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.
Following a religion is a personal choice; however, we are all spiritual in our own way. In today’s modern times, kids are also getting aware and curious about higher realms of consciousness. Here are some ways in which you can teach spirituality to your kids.
Prayers and Pledges: Its essential to teach at least a few prayers and chants to your child that are imbibed from your own roots. For instance, saying Grace before meals, chanting the Gayatri Mantra or just Om familiarizes them with your ancestral beliefs. This keeps the child connected to family values and also helps them understand ancient spiritual knowledge. The country’s National Anthem or Pledge is a must for children to know and be conscientious towards the nation and people at large.
Values v/s Blind Faith: Religions can be dogmatic and could demand blind faith, instead maybe you could inculcate spiritual values to your kid that are encompassing. For instance, ‘Love’ or ‘Compassion’ for every person, animal, bird, and species. You could teach them to choose Peace and Communication v/s Arguments which can lead to unhealthy communication patterns. Also help them develop an attitude of Acceptance v/s Ridicule which helps them evolve and see people from many walks of life with equality.
Speaking & Thinking Positive: Words (written and spoken) carry vibrations and energy. Choosing to speak positively and thinking optimistically about any outcome frees the child, gives them hope and is great for health and well-being. Knowledge by itself is made of words so it’s a new look at spirituality. For instance: I failed can be rewritten or re-thought as “I have another chance to try and learn.”
Nurture Nature: Spirituality can also mean just being of service to others and what better than nurturing nature and care for the Planet that provides us everything from the time we are born. To be able to care for birds, animals, plants and everything around them is great for a child’s well-being and also helps them to evolve as a person.
Meditation: Silence is the most spiritual state of being as it helps a person to be introspective. Ask your child to maintain silence for few minutes every day as it helps them look within and later ask them how they really felt. This helps open up about their emotions and gradually makes them intuitive about their life. Chanting Om or any other vedic chant enhances the experience. Creative activities by themselves are meditative and can help a child expand their horizons even more.
Moral values are essential to be taught as these help a child build character and lays the foundation to evolve as mature beings in later life.
Importance of Moral Values: Values by themselves are essential because they shape personality. Particularly, moral values improve a person’s social behavior and interactions with people from all walks of life. It’s important to teach a child moral values as it helps them live in harmony, connect better with others and it lays foundation for overall life.
Being Polite: Inculcating manners in speech and behavior from an early age shapes a child’s nature for life. Saying ‘Please’ while requesting someone or to seek help reflects a child’s ability to have with consideration with others. Saying ‘Thank You’ after receiving anything whether in kind compliments or material possessions helps a child value gestures and things. Apologizing by saying ‘Sorry’ when acting up or when one’s at fault helps a child introspect on their actions and keeps ego based emotions ( like fear, anger, worry, pride, stubbornness) in check.
Reaching out with Love: Love is an universal emotion and being able to reach out with love to one and all is a moral value based in equality and compassion. Teach your kid to reach out to slow learners, shy kids, friendless kids in the simplest of ways when they need love. Sharing playthings, inviting them for playing in the building, for celebrating birthday parties (theirs and yours) and also festivals is great way to bond and build friendships. Allow a new child who’s entering the playgroup some time to warm up and open gradually.
Being a Sport: Winning and losing are both sides of the same coin, participation is what makes a sport so special. Make your child aware of how sports create bonding and build community spirit. Hence, gracefully accepting success and failure is key to enjoying sports. Keep a check on your child if they show-off as winners as it could turn to arrogance and if they do, tell them that the game can change anytime. Enable them to see failure as another chance to learn and grow and get better at their game. An important aspect at the end of playing any match is to shake hands with every player and participant on the field as it shows respect for their sportsmanship and skills.
Speaking the Truth : Truthfulness is a moral value that builds character. Children are often afraid of punishment or ashamed if they make a mistake, so they lie or make up stories to escape responsibility. Lovingly explain to your child that truth is integrity and it resolves situations instead of complicating it. This ensures that they remain rooted in truth and authenticity and evolve as mature and sensible beings.
Which are some of the moral values you have ingrained in your child or would like to? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.