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Build a strong foundation

SPENDING many years in the academe exposed me to countless children and teen-agers with different backgrounds and personalities. My own knowledge of human behavior (combined with what is learned from books and other reading materials) increased in depth and breadth by interacting with students, observing them, checking their outputs, and listening to them. Of course I also learned from the parents’ stories, from the remarks of other teachers, and from observation of life outside the school premises.

Here are important things to consider in instilling good values in children:

1. The formative years are very crucial to a child’s development. “Early childhood years from birth through age eight are formative in terms of intelligence, personality, and social behavior” (UNICEF). Whatever values and skills you need to teach children, it is best to start during this period.

2. Affirmation helps develop a feeling of security. Tell your children that they are important. Show them! Highlight their strong points and celebrate their smallest achievements.

3. Respect individual differences. If comparing yourself to other people will lead to insecurity and unhappiness, where will comparing your child to his/her siblings and with other children lead?

4. Modeling is very important. Lessons are learned easily when adults show the right example. Can a chain smoker convince his child not to try smoking? In the same manner, reminders on saving money may be ineffective if children always see food wastage, unplanned purchases, and futile attempts to keep up with the neighbors.

5. Clarify the house rules. Even obedient children will be confused if rules are not clear and consistent. What are the rules? Are they well-explained? Are the consequences of not following these rules fair and acceptable?

Be patient in rearing your children and instilling in them the right values. If they have a strong foundation, certain elements will not succeed in influencing them to accept dangerous ideas and twisted values.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

(Marilyn Arayata: arayatamarilyn.wordpress.com. E-mail inspire.equip@gmail.com.)