September 30, 2009
In light of current world events, it’s very clear to every American that what sets us off from other civilizations is our value system — our value of life, of tolerance for different religious views and lifestyles, our value of democratic government and social equality — all the bedrock values on which this country was based. These also happen to be the values that make for responsible workers in a business or corporate setting.
How do we pass those values on to future generations? A child’s sense of morality and social conscience begins at home. To help make our schools, our offices, and our communities safer environments it is important that all members share the values that add to security and safety.
Adults can help. Discuss with children values such as the importance of each person’s life, respect for other’s property, compassion for the less fortunate, tolerance for people who are different, and obeying rules and laws.
Emphasize courtesy, honesty, and cooperation in everyday life. Explain to children that money isn’t everything, and that helping others brings personal satisfaction in many ways.
Learn to disagree by using words. If a local school offers adults an opportunity to take part in a conflict management program, sign up. You can learn techniques and approaches that will work well with children and show you how to pass along those models at home and in the workplace. The most important skill is learning how to turn feelings of anger and frustration into positive action instead of violence.
When necessary, say no. Intervene when needed. It is difficult for parents to admit seeing signs of antisocial behavior in their own children and to seek professional guidance. But while most children develop appropriate social skills as they mature, others may begin showing antisocial patterns as early as the fourth grade. Some of these trouble signs would include excessive use of guilt-free intimidation and force to get their own way, frequent and skillful lying, and routine reliance on cheating or stealing.
Children who exhibit these behaviors may need some professional help to redirect their energies and anxieties. Parents are in the best position to sense when help is needed. Remember that early intervention can make a profound difference.
There are no secret ingredients to a healthy character or a good citizen or responsible worker. But adults can take some basic steps to give effective support to the school and community programs aimed at instilling these values.