We all want our children to be good. However, we rarely explain to them WHAT being good means, WHY being good improves their lives, and most importantly, HOW to be good. We often just toss out vague comments like “Be nice”, or “Behave yourself”, as if they were magical halos that will turn our kids into good little angels.
EXPLAIN ‘GOODNESS’ FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
Goodness is a positive, loving and caring attitude revealed through our emotions and character. Being good means we make life an enjoyable and satisfying experience for ourselves and others by making responsible, moral choices.
Simply put, without goodness life would be bad. There wouldn’t be any compassion, kindness or love. Life would be a very lonely and negative experience.
Virtues are the underlying attributes of goodness. We become ‘good at goodness’ by practicing virtues.
All children are born with an innate goodness. But unless parents, caregivers and teachers nurture their goodness, chances are they’ll succumb to the negative influences and temptations in life.
VIRTUES FROM “A” TO “Z”
Virtues are positive qualities of character for people of all cultures, ethnicities and beliefs. Just as a toddler learns to stack building blocks, our kids can learn to use virtues to build a foundation of goodness.
‘NAMING’ THE VIRTUES IN OUR CHILDREN
Even the simplest moments can be teachable moments. For example, when a child brushes their teeth we can ‘name’ the virtue of cleanliness, “I see by your big beautiful smile and pearly whites that you’ve been practicing cleanliness!”
Providing evidence is the key to naming the virtues. It acknowledges a child’s specific accomplishments and makes them feel good. It sparks their natural longing for mastery and meaning in life and it makes them curious and receptive to learning more.
By recognizing teachable moments and naming the virtues, we can teach our kids actionable ways to be good.
Reading the “what, why and how” to kids while they color a cartoon is a fun and easy way to begin building a foundation of goodness.
DOWNLOAD A COLORING “V”TOON >
NOT JUST KIDS’ STUFF
As our children get older the teachable moments become more complicated. How do we encourage teens and young adults to choose goodness when they are being seduced by mass media messages promoting greed, sex, drugs and violence?
We often think of our children as extensions of ourselves, and sometimes we insist they do as we say. The truth is they are individuals with the right to live life as they choose. Naturally, conflicts will arise. Rather than engaging our children in shouting matches we need to calmly, peacefully and respectfully engage them in mature, candid conversations about life’s many choices. We need to have the courage to listen to them, and to honor their thoughts and feelings.
We need to honor our children’s right to choose yet we must be unyielding in our conviction that choosing goodness is the right choice.
As we discuss the possible consequences of life’s many choices, we can name the virtues to which the moment calls—It might be Assertiveness to say “Just say no”, Moderation to know when they’re had enough, Modesty for a sense of privacy about their bodies, or Detachment to control their emotions.
We can revisit the basic virtues. For older children, cleanliness means much more than brushing their teeth. Cleanliness can be in the mind as well as the body. A clean mind means that we keep our thoughts on things that are good for us. We can “clean up our act” by deciding to change when we have done something we aren’t proud of or made a mistake. Staying clean also means keeping our body free of alcohol, tobacco and harmful drugs.
PRACTICE MAKES GOODNESS
For kids to become good at anything, from riding a bike to playing a team sport, acing a test or video game, they need proper guidance and lots of practice. The same applies for becoming good at goodness.
There is no such thing as perfection, so let’s not get down on our kids when they stumble and fall. And let’s not overly protect them. Struggles and suffering are teachable moments; opportunities to learn the what, why and how of virtues of like Confidence, Determination, Forgiveness, Justice and Tolerance; these teachable moments are opportunities for parents as well, to acknowledge what we see in our kids, and based on evidence, to celebrate and praise their efforts and accomplishments.
Parents, caregivers and teachers need practice, too. We need to take the time to study and reflect on the Virtues From “A” to “Z”, and use them in our own lives. We must ‘walk the talk’ and model the behavior we want to see in our kids.
SIMPLE WAYS TO RAISE GOOD KIDS
Parenting is the most important job on the planet, yet very few of us are properly trained. Most of us just use the same approach as our parents did, or we learn by trial and error, which can have life-long negative effects on our children.
The “V” Channel was created to help parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches, mentors, and even school bus drivers, engage children in a ‘virtuous conversation’. We believe that creative, entertaining, and at times, provocative content based on virtues can inspire young people to choose goodness.
We take a stand against blame, shame and fear as ways of teaching kids life lessons. Instead, we promote The Five Strategies of The Virtues Project(TM), surprisingly simple yet effective ways to raise good kids.
STAY TUNED TO THE “V” CHANNEL.
As we raise additional funding we’ll produce new content and improve our website. Our goal is to build a world-class online destination and social media network offering ‘edutainment’ for viewing at home, in school, and on mobile devices.
Explore some of the content we’ve created so far:
THE “V”CHANNEL IS A 501(c)(3) NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.
©2015 THE “V” CHANNEL CORPORATION.
Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.