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Teaching Ethics to Children

Walking the path together
Discussion Is Better Than Criticism

I often discuss ethical issues with my daughter.
She wants to know what is right, what is wrong – and why.

Whenever such issues come up on TV,
or someone does something at school that raises an ethical question
we discuss the event.

Why did they do that?
Did it help anyone?
Did it hurt anyone?
Was there another, more positive way
that someone could have dealt with the situation?

Doing this type of analysis together helps to make it a habit
And is a bonding experience at the same time.

Personal Evaluation

When my daughter (rarely) does something wrong or hurtful,
we deal with it together.

She doesn’t get punished,
because punishment would almost certainly produce a repeat of the event,
and would not increase her understanding.
In fact I don’t even criticize her.

We talk about her action and evaluate.
I don’t make a judgement,
for it may be possible that something I see as wrong
She does not.

Developing Her Own Value System

I don’t want her to automatically adopt my value system.
I want her to consciously develop her own.

So we talk about how she feels and what she thinks.
Why did she do what she did?
What effect did it have, on her? On others?
Would she have preferred to have done something else?
What would she like to do now as a follow-up?
Then we create a plan based on her desired follow-up.

It’s The Deeper Lesson That Counts

This teaches self-inquiry and responsibility –
not just inner responsibility, but active responsibility.

She evaluates the experience herself.
She is learning and creating her own value system
In a dynamic way in the moment.

Developing our value systems is a lifelong process.
Well it can be if we make it so.

I know that for me developing it consciously
wasn’t something I was taught as a kid.
I adopted or rebelled against my parents values,
But neither adopting nor rebelling is really creating consciously.
They are both reactions.

The idea that I could evaluate my values
And accept or reject them
Seemed very odd when the idea first came to me.

I thought, “this is my opinion, this is how I feel about things.”
I didn’t realize that they weren’t MY opinions, not truly.
They were programmed into me.

Part of my journey as a parent and as a consciously evolving human being
has been to review and re-evaluate my value and belief systems.
And I continue to do so.

Walking The Path Together

The good thing is that she will now point out
when I do something similar.
We talk about it for me the same as for her!

I also have the opportunity to be evaluating my own value system
with her assistance.
We are learning partners
Developing ourselves as we walk the path together.

I like this image of the parent child relationship.

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