Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Values We Want To Teach Our Son

For us parents, it brings so much pride and joy to see our kids memorize the alphabet, count from 1 to 100 and recognize shapes and colors. We spend time and money on books and resources to teach them everything they needed to know to give them a head start in school. All these are great, but I believe that we have a much bigger responsibility of teaching them about more important things like values and character development.

As their role models, we can already teach them about values even at a young age. At 2 and a half, Caleb easily picks up words, expressions and actions. He's just like a sponge that easily absorbs and picks up what he sees and hears. So it seems fit for us to be more deliberate in teaching him about good values at this stage. It will be good to know that our children are born with different temperaments and some values might already be inherent to them. Values are also acquired from the environment they are constantly exposed in. Take time to asses what values your child already possess and what he might still be lacking so you can identify which ones you would like to emulate to your children.  Let  me share some of these values that we purposefully try to teach our son everyday. Our son still has a lot to learn, and so do we. By learning from each other, we become better parents and and our kids grow up to become better individuals.

1.  Obedience- Teaching obedience should be easy, right? After all, we are the ones in authority and our children should do as we say. Wrong. By nature, we tend to assert our will and a 2-year old seems to be an expert in doing so. I tell him to pick up his toys, and sometimes he will even scatter it more. We tell him it's time to take a bath and he will lie down in rebellion. Teaching about obedience is a process and I'm sure glad it is because I don't want to raise a robot who will just say yes and obey just because I say so. Real obedience should be motivated by love and respect.  The bible gives us enough motivation to obey. Ephesians 6:1 says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." Caleb learned to memorize this verse and every time he does not like to obey, we would make him recite this verse. Proclaiming the truth in God's Word has power to discipline. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Mom and Dad are happy when Caleb obeys and we make sure he knows that. We would shower him with hugs and kisses every time and praise his efforts. 

2.  Love for God - Loving God starts with knowing Him. The more we know God, the more we love Him. The bible says that it is the parents' responsibility to teach about God, not their Sunday school, nor their religion teachers. Deuteronomy 11:19 says, "Teach them to your children,talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Praying before meals, before bedtime and upon waking up is a good start to teach about God to your children. In our homeschool lesson, we incorporate Bible stories with his regular lessons. Example, "Today we are going to to study the letter "B" B is for Boat and you know years ago, God commanded Noah to make a big boat, called an ark. We cap off our learning fun with kids praise music. Because we do this on a regular basis, it did not take long for Caleb to memorize and sing the lyrics of Jesus Loves Me, God Made Me, I've got Joy and other songs that speak truths in the bible.

3.  Honor and Respect - Little boys like to play it rough. I don't mind doing piggy back rides and a little hug wrestling, but when it gets really rough, Caleb is sure to hear from his dad on how he should be more gentle with mommy. Since I take care of Caleb during the day, he is generally more attached to me.  But when Randy is home, I make sure he shows his dad the same respect.  Playing favorites with either mommy or daddy is a no no. 

One example that my mom taught us as kids is to get our daddy's slippers as soon as he comes home. This will teach him how to acknowledge his dad's presence as soon as the man of the house walks in. So when the doorbell rings, Caleb is always ready with his daddy's slippers, big hugs and kisses for him and art projects to boast of to his daddy.

4.  Gratefulness - Every night before bed, we ask Caleb what he wants to thank God for the day. One time, while I was having a really exhausting day at the supermarket (Caleb was running around while I try to pick some vegetables -- one eye on the carrots and one eye on the naughty kid running around), a bagger boy helped me look after our cart and joked around with Caleb while I tried to finish my groceries. Later that night when I asked Caleb what he would like to thank Jesus for, he said, "thank kuya in supermarket". My heart melted and I said, Yes God, thank you indeed for kuya.
5.  Courtesy -  When Caleb first learned how to use his words to ask for his milk (sounded like, "Milk! Milk!") we would tell him, " This is how you ask for your milk properly, Caleb. You say, Milk, please."  Now that he's older and he knows how to ask what he wants, we would always require the "magic word," PLEASE. The best way to teach about courtesy is to model it yourself. Personally, I became more conscious of how I talk to others - our household help, the security guards and store attendants, to him and especially his dad. Kids always learn best by example.

There are still a lot of things that we want to teach our son. When we became parents, we assumed the responsibility of raising Godly children who will make a difference in this world. And although he might not yet totally understand what these are for, someday, he will thank us for doing so.