Teaching Children Non-Violence, Ethics, and Morals

United States
February 17, 2009 8:54pm CST
I've seen so many topics in the news lately of this child shot this child, or this child shot this parent. It's becoming scary as a teacher and parent to know just how our children are learning these things. What is making them choose to break the laws in the society they live in? Here in Minnesota we've just seen a school open that is based upon the teachings of Gandhigi. It's entire curriculum is based upon non-violence. Now, we do know that there was much more to Gandhi's movement then just non-violence, but it seems a good place to start. There is a great deal of focus on community involvement, equality, and sharing. I'm wondering as parents what more can we do to instill these simple values, that seem common place, into our children? Is teaching them to turn the other cheek merited or is it out dated? How do we teach them ethics if we're willing to compromise ours on taxes, bills, and so forth? How do we teach our children simple values found in the 10 commandments (George's top 3 for those who admired Carlin), if we're out telling white lies? My thoughts are that we need to some how do our best to live a right life and be the example to our children. I think we can start with the little things. I think teaching our children how to vocalize their emotions is a start. So many children feel that they cannot speak with their parents, so they don't share their emotions. Negative emotions bottled up, and even good ones that are ignored seem as if they may be cause for part of the respones of children behaving inappropriately. I think the next thing we can do is spend as much quality time (covered in my previous post) with our children. Providing them with the security that they need seems to meet one of Maslow's criteria for children's growth. If a child feels he is safe he is less likely to try to find safety in other areas, such as gangs. I also think we need to be the example. I know we hear this quite a bit as parents, but we need to really examine the small things in life. For example, if you tell someone that you can't meet with them because you are ill, and then go out with another that sends a very mixed message to the child. I know we're all guilty of doing these things, but it is time to start examining their effects upon our children. We need to explain these things to our children when they are young. Waiting until they are already in crisis is too late. We need to model for them how to appropriately speak with our spouses when having a discussion, instead of resorting to violence and name-calling. What are your suggestions for teaching children non-violence, ethics, and morals? Do you feel it should also be a part of our education system? Would you support your children receiving such a curriculum? Do you see any down-falls to teaching our children these things?
1 response
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
19 Feb 09
Easy...turn off the crap that is on TV these days... don't go to the movies unless they are G rated, and toss out those video and hand held games that you have to kill or destroy or other violent action to get to the next level. Bet we'd be amazed at how calm and nice and moral kids would be
2 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 09
Thank you for your response, but is it really just that simple? I've met parents that are upset if I teach anything that pertains to "morality" in my classroom. They feel that is their job, and yet somehow it's being missed in the homes. And can we really use the scapegoat of "It's those movies, music, etc?" That seems to have been America's excuse for a long time.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
19 Feb 09
No it won't fix it all, but it is a great place to start. Children and even older folks, only learn what they are taught...teach them right and that is what they wil learn and live with. Teach them wrong, and you got a mess. Plus, if that is the majority of "stuff" (for lack of better word) that is out there for kids to see, learn, know, identify with etc... that is what they will use to decide what they want to be or how they want to be.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 09
Yes, I suppose we have to start somewhere, and family community is a good place. It just seems that today people spend less time instilling values then they did years ago. Of course, perhaps it is the same and it's just we have more media coverage today. Thanks for all of your responses. Namaste-Anora