What Makes a Good Person?
We’ve always been of the belief that children will grasp anything that you give them. Just like newborns naturally wrap their fingers around a finger that’s placed in their hands, their brains are the same way. It’s not just the information that we directly give them that impacts them. They also grasp on to what’s happening in their environment.
Although we’ve been hailed as great parents over the years, there is one thing about our family that seems to shock most. It’s amazing how this one thing seems to change people’s perspective of us immediately, or at least give them pause. What is it, you ask? It’s the fact that we don’t believe in organized religion. We don’t have a church home and we don’t believe in reading the Bible for guidance. When people learn this (and you may be one of them now), they begin to question our parenting and what we are actually teaching our children. If you’re curious, I’ll explain it for you.
Rule #1- Always tell the truth.
One of my biggest pet peeves is lying. My children know that lying is considered one of the biggest forms of disrespect that you can give. When you lie, it’s telling me that I don’t deserve the truth and that I’m not worthy. Although it can be challenging, honesty is necessary. When you’re honest, you respect the other person enough to allow them to make the decision as to how the information should be digested. You can’t make those decisions for others. You also don’t want to present a false perception of who you are in order to be accepted. Be honest about all that you do and say. Those who accept it are worthy of your time and presence.
Rule #2- Respect your elders.
Although many children feel as if they’re grown and have done so much within their 10 or 16 years, it’s important for them to understand deference. They can be the top dogs amongst their 7 or 13 year old friends because they’ve “seen” more than them. That’s fine as long as they understand that they must return the respect to those who have been here longer than them. I show this to my children by still saying “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” to my elders. My behavior impacts them. If they can see that their mother still has respect for her elders, even though I’m considered old in their eyes, it will become a natural behavior for them.
Rule #3- Treat others as you want to be treated.
It should be common sense to only do to others what you would want done to you, but many people missed that lesson. Is it something that my children have perfected? Of course not. But we have discussions about it frequently. It can be easy to get caught up in your own feelings but we have to step back and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes to see how they may perceive the same situation. If you don’t like how it feels for me to yell at you, don’t yell at others. It’s as simple as that.
Rule #4- Be gentlemen.
As a woman, raising gentlemen is a huge goal for me. I want them to be respectful of themselves and to others. This includes: holding doors for ladies and their elders, saying “Please” and “Thank You”, kind gestures like clearing the table for their parents/grandparents, being respectful in their language, etc. Chivalry is alive and should be natural.
Those were just some of the rules that we’ve set into place but they are really just the tip of the iceberg to the daily lessons we discuss with our children. We do this because all of these things are natural to us. I personally don’t think that church or the Bible is needed to know what naturally feels right to do. Our children are very compassionate, caring, sympathetic, and giving because that’s what they witness in their home. We are their examples and we’ve created that environment for them.