Passing on Our Values to Our Children

What do we expose our children to? That was the essence of one question asked in the presidential debate this week. What the questioner was getting at was what in our public discourse is inappropriate for children to hear? This speaks to a big question. What do we not expose our children to, and what should we make sure to expose them to?

I thought about this last week too when I looked at a young man's facebook page, and saw exhibited there all kinds of things that were not a part of his parent's values – unhealthy living, racism, threatening demeanor. Since they didn't teach him these things, who did? How do we as family/community counteract things that are out there in general society which run counter to the values we want to instill in children?

Perhaps a good counter-balance is to intentionally expose kids to the things that support our values: embracing diversity, community, acceptance, compassion, thoughtfulness – things that go hand in hand with loving our neighbors, doing to others as we would have them do to us.

One way for a faith community to pass on values of faith is to show children that they are valuable to us. In a couple of weeks, we will recognize Children's Sabbath. Some of the suggestions for showing children that they matter are to look them in the face, learn their names, ask them questions, greet them during greeting time just as adults are greeted. Letting our children know that they are valued and respected is an important component in leading them to value and respect others.

Blessed by both big and small,  Jeannie