Attention to Family Values

Raising Independent Children

The most important family value and teaching method which seems lacking as a core value today, I believe, is to teach "independent thinking". In viewing the media, public school systems and general societal tendancies it seems there are less free thinkers and perhaps less parenting styles encouraging this behavior. The general advacocy is an inate sense of "let no one fall behind" and shortcut taking. If we teach our children and represent as parents an aspect of free and independent thinking; results will be a society of actual "doers" rather than "takers".

How can we do this? Let's analyze this as an idea. If we address our children without condensention and ask them to figure things out for themselves are we not allowing them the ability to master problem solving? If they are watching us as parents and we consistently say, "I don't know" and leave it at that...there remains a tendancy to not seek answers to questions. We have the opportunity to ignite inspiration and an overall sense of achievement even in the smallest thought process. Yesterday, my 3 year old asked me, "Mommy, why can't I have jelly beans for dinner." Rather than say because you can't, I sat her down and explained how too much sugar can cause her to have a tummy ache and also if she doesn't eat dinner and just has sugar she won't grow properly and will get sick." I didn't say, "Because Mommy said so" or "I just don't want you to." I explained the consequences of her actions which she analyzed and weighed. I then asked her how she felt about the idea? She ultimately decided she didn't want to get sick and it would be better to eat her dinner and have the jelly beans later. This may seem elementary but surprisingly many adults brush off the idea of an explanation. Eventually it is my hope my daughter will learn to analyze her questions before asking them. It is also my hope she will always seek my advice and we can learn together the answers. As parents it is always beneficial to the greater good to share our advice, knowledge and insights with each other.

A robotic life is one without purpose or inspiration. If as a family we come together either individually or as a team to solve problems, look up answers, ask questions and remain attentive to life's messages; we are providing a sound foundation of trust. Our children trust not only in our ability to derive the truth or at least seek it but they also learn to trust their own judgements and perceptions. Rather than looking toward peers or media outlets for their definitions, a level of self confidence is establised which will ultimately serve everyone involved in the family core. One of my favorite quotes is by Ayn Rand which says, "A Man Without a Purpose is the Most Depraved of Human Beings." While this may seem an extremist viewpoint, in essence it is true. If we do not teach a purpose driven life and lead by example; our children will follow a patter rampant in today's populace of laziness and disregard.

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