Teaching Morality to Kids

Teaching Morality to Kids

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  1. There was a time when kids got a well-rounded education in school. In addition to reading, writing, math, science and history, they learned about how to behave as civilized people in a civilized world. How they interacted with other children was a part of this, but many schools included some basics on theology in the curriculum as well. The ACLU put a stop to that quite a while ago, citing the separation of church and state. It became so complicated for teachers to even discuss morality based on religious ethics that they finally stopped trying. After all, if they had to include the belief systems of virtually every large religion on earth into the discussion in order to avoid lawsuits, it would take up too much class time.

    Not too long ago, most kids attended a Sunday school of one sort or another (because the Jewish and Muslim Sabbaths fall on Saturday, their equivalent for children is on that day instead). However, despite the fact that most Americans still consider themselves religious, very few still attend church, and parents that don’t attend church are extremely unlikely to send their kids to Sunday school, where the ACLU can’t force teachers to stop teaching morality.

    Kids spend more time watching TV today than ever before—and when they aren’t watching TV, they are either playing on their X-Box or Playstation, fooling around on the Internet or are plugged into one of the many media devices listening to music. Little of today’s music—or of any modern era for that matter—is ethically redeeming; the Internet is an excellent learning tool but is simultaneously a source of constantly streaming filth and corruption; most video games that kids want to play are extremely violent and teach little or nothing of morality and TV is largely a wasteland when it comes to redeeming qualities. As a result, most kids these days have but one source from which to learn about ethics and morality: their parents.


    When walking with your kids, do you get impatient sometimes and J-walk? While driving with them in the car, do you sometimes speed, cut off other drivers, fail to use your turn signals or commit any one of a hundred other minor infractions? When you’re shopping with your kids and a clerk gives you too much change for your purchases, do you give that money back, or pocket it and consider it a gift? If you find a wallet, do you take a few bucks out of it (or all the money) before mailing it to its owner, thinking of it as your justly due reward? When making a bank withdrawal, if the teller gives you one extra twenty dollar bill accidentally because two stuck together, do you keep it because, after all, the bank has plenty of money?

    We all commit minor crimes all the times. We like to think of ourselves as “good” people, but doing any of the aforementioned things comes as second nature to us these days. Few people consider such minor violations as morally wrong—but every time we do these things in front of our children, we teach them that it is okay to steal, or break any laws with which we don’t agree.

    We live in a politically correct “progressive” world now, where it’s considered wrong to teach kids the difference between right and wrong, where permissiveness is more important than rules, where it’s better to be a child’s friend than a parent. All of this puts a big strain on the fabric of society. The whole idea of behaving in a civilized manner is to rise above the more base human natures, such as greed, selfishness, immaturity and deception; yet the media teaches children that these traits are not only acceptable, but desirable.

    As parents, it falls on us to set a better example than society does. And it isn’t enough to curb our natural tendencies when we’re around our own children; we have to watch how we behave all the time, because your kids see more of what you do than you realize, and if they see you behaving differently when they aren’t with you, they won’t take the examples you set in their presence seriously. Also, other children will observe your behavior, and if they learn the same bad habits from their own parents, your example will only reinforce their slow corruption. Bad behavior affects everyone exposed to it negatively. If we want our kids to grow up to be responsible, mature adults who are a credit to society, we have to show them how to be that kind of person through our own examples, every minute of every day.

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