"It shall be the duty of all teachers to endeavor to impress on the minds of their pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, temperance, humanity and patriotism; to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity and falsehood; to instruct them in the principles of free government, and to train them up to the true comprehension of the rights, duty and dignity of American citizenship."-- RCW 28A.405.030
I don't know about you, but that quote makes me smile. I believe a large part of a public education is helping students be good citizens. To me, principles like morality, truth, justice, etc. are not just qualities we expect in Superman; they are what we as Americans try to live up to.
I know that families try to teach their kids these important values and thought that the following ideas might be helpful.
1. Honesty: As children grow, influences such as friends or the media can teach them to lie. It is important to counteract this by reinforcing the value of honesty. Children often fear being yelled at, so let them know you will always take the time to listen to them. Applaud their courage for telling you the truth but follow through with any consequences you have outlined. Going back on your word would set an example of dishonesty which is counteractive.
2. Courtesy and Respect: Children learn respect at home based on how parents and others in their lives treat each other. Children strive to model parental behavior, so if you show courtesy (by using "please," "you're welcome," "thank you" and similar phrases), your child will follow suit. It is also important to teach your children how to respect others' opinions and property so that they can create healthy relationships.
3. Gratitude: It is easy to take others for granted and forget to show others that they are appreciated. Teach your child to be thankful each day, even for the little things like a smile or good weather. Remind kids that we are grateful for such things as food, shelter, friends, nice clothing, siblings, etc. This will help them to be more appreciative for what they have.
4. Generosity: It is easy for human beings to get caught up in what we want, and this is particularly true for children. Teaching the importance of sharing at home can help your children learn to interact with others when they go to school. Consider taking on a charitable cause like donating clothing, food or time, to teach children the importance of being generous.
5. Forgiveness and Compassion: Those that are not able to forgive can grow up to be bitter. People can act badly from time to time and it is important to forgive these individuals and show them compassion rather than holding a grudge that will only hurt you. Teaching your child to forgive and move past things can make it easier to fuel a healthier mindset and be happy, rather than bitter and resentful.
6. Perseverance: It often takes a few tries before we can manage a task successfully. The lesson of persistence starts when kids are young, learning to feed themselves, walk or speak. Young children are likely to keep trying, but as they get older they start to compare themselves with others, which can bring feelings of inadequacy. Let your children know that you are proud of their efforts; when they feel discouraged, try to guide them to the right solution without simply solving a problem for them.
7. Humility: Humility is an essential quality to have. When we compare ourselves to others, rather than our own previous efforts, it is easy to become prideful. Criticizing others does not make us better.
8. Responsibility: Responsible children grow into responsible adults. We must teach children to take responsibility for both the good and bad actions they do. This helps to prevent children from growing into whiny individuals who are always trying to blame others for things they have done wrong.
9. Love: Children are naturally loving and affectionate; in order for this to last you will need to reciprocate the emotion. Demonstrate love and affection for others in front of your child and be generous with showing love and affection toward your child as well. Surprise your children with loving gestures like slipping notes into their backpacks or performing thoughtful gestures at unexpected moments.
10. Apologize: Saying "I'm sorry" is pretty easy for a child, but having a child make amends in a proactive way conveys a much stronger message. If you're aware that your child has acted badly toward someone, help him/her think of a way to compensate. Maybe he/she can give one of his/her toys to a playmate whose toy he/she has damaged. Perhaps he/she could draw a picture for his/her sister after teasing her all day. By encouraging your children to make such gestures, you emphasize the importance of treating people fairly, which will one day help them negotiate the complicated world of peer-group relationships.
Reference: http://bit.ly/RSDvalues, http://bit.ly/RSDvalues2