Inglés

VALUES

When we began the initial pilot of Living Values Education in February of 1997, we asked educators for feedback.  A few asked us about the meaning of the values they were exploring with the children.  This prompted us to explore again the purpose of Living Values Education.  As educators we felt strongly that we wanted to help create positive, supportive and safe quality learning environments for young people so they could grow toward their potential, but wasn’t another aim to have peace and respect around the world?

Remembering that we began the creation of LVE with a tenet in the Preamble of the United Nations’ Charter, we began to create Reflection Points based on that.  Which tenet?  “To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person . . .”  Universal values teach respect and dignity for each and every person, not just for those of a particular culture, race, background or religion.  If we are to promote wellbeing for individuals and the larger society, we needed to define values within this parameter.

In the Living Values Series of books, developed after the pilot, Reflections Points were included within each values unit.  They provide information about the meaning of the value being explored and are incorporated in the lessons. “Understanding core values is essential to teaching values if students are to develop lifelong adherence to high principles” (Thomas Lickona, 1993).  The Reflection Points are intended to be universal in nature, holding an interdependent perspective of the importance of dignity and respect for each and every one, and our planet.  For example, a point in the unit on Respect is: Everyone in the world has the right to live with respect and dignity, including myself.  A Tolerance Reflection Point is: Tolerance is being open and receptive to the beauty of differences.

Educators are encouraged to add their favourite Reflection Points, or use favourite sayings from the culture of their community and historical figures.  Students can make up Reflection Points or research favourite sayings of their own.  Let us know if you would like to add a Reflection Point!

Teens are the next generation of leaders for our society. It’s important to keep that big perspective in mind because we, adults, are usually so engrossed in our own commitments that we tend to just give knee-jerk reactions to whatever adolescents deliver that day. Adults are so intent on enforcing “the rules” that we might forget that our true purpose is to instill positive values and morals that will make these teens become productive and responsible adults.

Our values are the ideas we hold about what is important and what is not, what is wrong and what is right. Generally, we don’t stop to think about our values, but they are behind all of our beliefs, interests and goals. They affect what friends we choose, what we do with our free time, how we spend your money – in other words, values are what drive all of our actions.

For example, is it more important that the 15-year-old gets an “A” on his biology test or is it more important that he values what an education will do for him? You might argue the point that grades are incredibly important, but the key is that we work hard at whatever we value. If the teen truly values his education, he will automatically strive for the “A”.

Teens need the adults in their lives to teach them values so they can create their own strong moral fiber. People who have good, strong values are generally happier, more successful in their relationships with other people, and more likely to contribute positively to society by reaching beyond themselves out into their community.

Tips for Instilling Good Values in Teens

Be a good role model. There is no single better way to teach than by example. Children of all ages learn by imitating, and they are very adept at picking up the differences between what you say and what you do. So if you want to teach honesty, be honest. Don’t lie when turning down a commitment because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings – your children will learn that it’s okay to lie in some cases. If you want your children to be giving and unselfish, find ways to volunteer or help others.

Watch for teaching moments. In daily life, we are offered numerous examples of values played out in real life – these are your chances to initiate a values discussion. If you are watching the evening news and see a story about someone who rushed into a burning building to save someone, you can talk about courage. If you see a child at a local grocery store treating a parent or another adult disrespectfully, you can ask your teen what went wrong in that situation. Look for these opportunities to ask your child about the experience and share what you think is pertinent.

Have frequent conversations about values in your household. Don’t make the mistake of only talking about values when something goes wrong. Nothing will turn your teens off more than preaching values to them after they’ve made a mistake. Talk to them when everyone’s relaxed, and do it in a light, conversational manner. Be aware of using the “parental tone,” which has your kids wanting to run for the door. When values are a frequent topic in your house, teens will understand that they are important.

Serve others together. Children learn values when they experience them. Do you want your teen to see you put the values you say into action? Family service projects, like helping in a soup kitchen or weeding the elderly neighbor’s flower bed, are the perfect ways for teens to see first-hand the results of their efforts. And observing their parents perform simple courtesies like holding the door for a person in a wheelchair will help them learn to be unselfish and put the needs of others first.

Help them learn to stay the course during hard times. Life is full of challenges and tough circumstances. If we allow our teens to “give up” every time they face something difficult, we are instilling the value of quitting which they will carry into adulthood. Instead encourage your teen by telling them how confident you are that they can push through any obstacles.

Praise them when they uphold their values. Parents should reward behavior that exemplifies fundamental values. So when your child is honest even when it is hard, tell them how proud you are of them. When he or she is courteous or respectful to you or others, let them know it. Children tend to rise to the level of their parents’ expectations, so be sure to expect positive decisions from them.

Share your stories. Stories are not just for little kids. By sharing stories from your life – such as people in your workplace who made good or poor ethical decisions and the consequences of those choices – you will help them see the application of timeless values in the adult world.

Pay attention to who else might be teaching values to your teens. Anyone who spends time with your teen may be influencing him or her, so it’s a good idea to get to know your child’s teachers, coaches, and friends. It also may help to guide your children towards your faith or spiritual beliefs to strengthen their values.

Ask your kids questions that will stimulate dialogue about values. Telling your kids what values they should have won’t be very effective, especially for teenagers. Asking them questions that generate discussions will give you better results. Here are some ideas for questions that will open your eyes to what your teen believes and offer you the opportunity to share your own morals:

  • If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?
  • If you saw someone hit someone else’s car in the parking lot and not leave a note, what would you do?
  • If you had a thousand dollars, how would you spend it?
  • If you saw someone bullying someone at school, what would you do?

There are no easy answers to any value-based question, but if you can get your teen to think about their values and start making positive choices, then they will be successful on the road of life. ,r){var e=t