The 10 Things Many Parents Fail to Teach Their Children

Filed in Living by on June 19, 2014 3 Comments

teaching your child how to behaveI take issue with the seemingly single-minded focus on self-esteem that has been propagated in our popular culture to parents over the last couple of decades. It is touted as the greatest gift we can impart to our children.

What has become of basic values? Aren’t these as important, or more important, than simply feeling good about oneself? Don’t moral and character values in turn lead to healthy, well-deserved, and long-lasting self-esteem?

Here is my list of the top 10 basic values we can teach our children, in no particular order:

  1. Honesty – “the quality of being fair and truthful.” When I refer to honesty, I do not mean the type practiced by so many politicians and businesspeople, which is lament for being caught after the fact. I mean real, genuine honesty, for the simple and pure sake of being truthful.
  2. Compassion – “sympathetic consciousness of another’s distress, and a desire to help.” Simply having a pet in the home can assist in teaching compassion for other humans and all of God’s creatures.
  3. Perseverance – “continued effort to achieve something despite obstacles or difficulties.” So many people give up so easily these days. What has happened to tenacity in the face of an obstacle?
  4. Self-control – “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” This is sadly lacking in many children these days, often leading to disastrous consequences when they become adults.
  5. Courage – “the willingness to do something that is difficult or dangerous.” The men and women serving in our armed forces can teach the rest of us a lot about this virtue.
  6. Dependability – “able to be trusted to do or provide what is necessary.” This consists of simply doing what you say you’re going to do.
  7. Fidelity “being faithful to your spouse or partner.” Closely-related virtues are devotion, loyalty, and trustworthiness.
  8. Patience – “bearing pains and trials calmly.” Not so easy for us Type A’s. I had to learn some of this before I could teach it to my children!
  9. Fortitude – “strength of mind that enables a person to bear pain or adversity.” Pain is an objective fact; suffering only occurs when we dwell on it.
  10. Temperance – “moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.” This might seem like a dated concept, but how many people’s lives are ruined by alcohol, drugs, severe obesity, gambling, and cheating on their spouses?

If your children are still at home and being raised, you might choose to focus your instruction more on these basic values. Even if your children are grown, reinforcing these ideals might be helpful to them.

Raising our children to be virtuous, by instilling in them basic values, is one of the greatest gifts we can give both to them and society.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (3)

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  1. Leslie says:

    Well said Tim…. As always 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    You’re right on, Tim!

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