Teaching Values–some ideas

Here are some skills we value and some thoughts on instilling them in ourselves and in young people. 

1. Pleasing The loving quality of gratifying and giving pleasure to others before yourself. Children may speak of doing chores or good deeds for their parents. This is terrific especially if they do these things without being asked. It’s also a great quality to surprise people with gifts, visits or good deeds.
After a Grandees “Icebreaker” or other warmup exercise, try a biography of Johann Sebastian Bach, Solomon or Einstein to illustrate how these famous people pleased someone special in their lives. 0. Henry wrote a wonderful story called, “The Gift of the Magi” that’s also a great example for “pleasing”. You may have stories from your own childhood about pleasing teachers, your parents, or of other people who pleased someone and of how special that made the person feel.

2. Obeying Allowing leaders, parents and teachers to love, lead, give direction and provide guidance. The old saying is, “You can’t become a good leader without first being a good follower”. Obeying proper authority is a positive virtue that will allow our children to become good citizens, employees and eventually, good parents and leaders. After an “Icebreaker” or warm-up exercise, Douglas MacArthur, George Washington, Helen Keller or a given modem athlete can provide a good example of obeying. In order to become a great writer, soldier, musician or almost any vocation, dedication and many hours of practice are needed. Much of this practice is led by instructors, coaches and teachers. Before these famous people became great, they had to obey the instruction of someone more knowledgeable than they. Another illustration is, in time of war, what would happen if the soldiers didn’t obey the leader? What would happen if the team didn’t obey its coach?

3. Asking- We need to ask good questions to get direction and the resulting enjoyment. Asking questions is how we learn and grow as a person. Let the children know that you encourage them to ask questions whenever they are in doubt.
As children growing up, we were always curious as to why certain things happened. Like many of our educators, Thomas Edison was also very curious and asked many questions as a child. Let the kids realize that the questions they ask and information they learn will help them grow brighter and wiser as did Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, and Helen Keller.

4. Listening – To listen in a loving way is more important than talking. Let’s teach the kids how to be active listeners, how to really pay attention without having their minds wander or thinking about the next thing they’re going to say.
Many of our greatest leaders were very careful listeners. People such as Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford and Ronald Reagan knew they could not know everything. So they surrounded themselves with experts in many subjects. You may have your own stories of listening to good advice, listening to great speeches or other ways that listening has influenced your life.

5. Learning – Love to learn eagerly the rest of your life. “The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.” Whether learning arithmetic, how to play the piano, or how to hit a home run, learning new ideas and skills is what makes life fun and interesting. Albert Einstein, Johann Sebastian Bach, Will Rogers, and Ben Franklin were all intensely curious and sought to learn new things throughout their entire lives. Without the quest for knowledge, it would be a boring life indeed. Ask the kids if they could imagine a time without cars, computers, telephones, or planes. These breakthroughs are all because of great people learning and applying new ideas. How did Michael Jordan learn to play basketball? How did you learn your career skills or a hobby? How has on-going learning made your life more complete?

6. Laboring — Work well and hard all of your life. What are the benefits of hard work?  We work not only to benefit ourselves and our families, but to be able to give a little extra to those who are in need. Instilling a solid work ethic in our children is of great importance. You may know people who are “self-made success stories.”  What happens to people who give up or who don’t work hard?  People such as Jesus Christ, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill were all tireless workers who all rose to become some of the greatest people in history. Show the children how focussing on goals and working hard toward them will lead to success.

7. Loving — A giving, compassionate, caring attitude toward others is a quality that is desperately needed in our world today.  How do we teach love other than by example?  Volunteers like Grandees making honest commitments to the kids, being there for them.
There are many stories of love. St. Francis of Assisi gave up his life of luxury to pursue his love for God and for the poor. Patrick Henry resolved to offer his life for love of his country. You may know many stories of people who loved others so much that they gave time, money and more to those who really needed help. Tell a story of your love for another or another’s love for you.

8. Manners – -You’ll be much more lovable if you’re polite and courteous to elders and friends.  Even children make a first impression, and some adults form a poor impression of people of all ages when those people are rude and thoughtless. Knowing that they have proper manners gives youngsters confidence, self-esteem, and poise in new situations.  Saying, “Yes please” and “No thank you,” when asked a question shows others that you respect them. Holding a door open or giving up your seat to an elderly person lets others know that you have a good heart. Children who are polite and well-behaved at mealtime are often praised. Remember the last time someone sent you a “thank you” note and how that made you feel?
When Helen Keller was a young girl she did not have good manners. She made many people upset and sad such as her teacher, friends, morn, and dad when she did not show manners. When she learned how to show good manners it made her family, friends, and teacher happy. Can you tell of a time when you showed good manners? When you showed good manners how did that make you feel and the others around you?

9. Morals — Making a good decision between right and wrong is an act of love for others as well as yourself. We all know that lying, cheating, or stealing is wrong and being honest, trustworthy, and loyal is right. Telling your parents the truth, being loyal to your friends, and having others trust in your friendship show the good sense of morals you have.
Adam and Eve were in a situation when they had to make a right or wrong decision. We have all made some right and wrong decisions at some point in our life. Let the children know that because they make a wrong decision there are other ways of fixing that problem. Ask the children to tell a story when they made a right or wrong decision. What happened when they made that decision?

10. Motivation — Behind our motivations is love. Love for people, the truth or even the love of doing a great job. Motivation is purpose. It’s the reason we have for helping others, making others happy, feeling good about ourselves, and knowing we’re doing the right thing.
Have the children think of what motivates them to let a teammate score a soccer goal, help a friend study for their spelling test, or wash dishes for their mom. There’s a deep sense of joy behind being motivated to do the right thing. Tell the kids a story about people who had to work hard or go out of their way to do the right thing and about how that made them feel. Maybe there are people in your own town who volunteer at church, for charities, kids sports teams, boy scouts, etc. Why do they do it? What motivates you to be a Grandee?

11. Mirth – Love, laughter and joy all go together. We each have our favorite activity that brings mirth into our lives. Although many of us enjoy our own special times, much of our fun is experienced by sharing good times together, learning what makes our friends happy and experiencing it together. We may enjoy playing football, talking to friends, or doing good deeds. These activities make people happy.
What makes others happy? Think about what motivated you to do something that made you or those around you happy What do people really enjoy? Ask the children to write down a time when they or someone they loved and cared about was happy. Have them share their happiness with the class or in a small group. what pleasure does a great Olympic performer give her fans? How about Beethoven and his music? What does it feel like to make people happy?

12. Memory - Do you have good memory? We all remember chores we’re supposed to do, homework and special occasions. It’s important to remember special dates like your parents’ birthdays, a date you might have with a friend, or what time you need to leave for school.

Can you remember a special event in your life? How about remembering people’s names and how special that makes them feel. Many famous educators had to have good memories in order to do their work. Albert Einstein had to remember many arithmetic equations, Helen Keller had to remember sign language in order to communicate, and Bach had to remember his music notes. Appoint days for each child to recite a poem, perform a musical piece, or tell a favorite story to the class. Memorizing is an important cognitive exercise for young people.
At the end of your session, give the children a “secret password” to remember for next time you see them.