There was once a town called Maji, made up of multiple factories. Each of these factories produces goods into the society for use and consumption.
Initially, goods produced by these factories were of high quality. Everyone that used or came in contact with these goods are always so enthralled by the quality of work the factory workers had done.
Because of the high-quality products that were being made, the society kept flourishing and everything went on fine.
Then everything changed.
Suddenly, the factories began making products that are substandard. Many of the products were either totally bad or so bad that they will affect the users.
This problem expanded and the effect began to show in the community: a lot of negative things were happening, the substandard products were affecting other people, and there was chaos everywhere.
I am not talking about Maji, neither am I talking about factories. I am talking about the family unit and society at large.
In the most basic level, the family unit can be compared to a factory. But instead of producing goods, the family produces humans into the society.
It is the responsibility of each family to produce quality, well-trained, empathetic, and emotionally intelligent products (individuals) into the society.
When the family fails at this obligation, what happens is the same thing that happened to our fictional town (Maji): the society becomes chaotic, and a lot of negative things begin to happen.
Almost any form of crime or act of indiscipline that is destroying the balance of the world today can be traced back to the family. Somehow, families have stopped teaching the fundamental values children need to become upright citizens. We are now producing substandard individuals that are destroying the norm and causing so much chaos.
The rate of suicide is at an all-time high; depression levels are higher than ever; our correctional systems are taking in more young people than ever.
You don’t need to look very far to understand that family values are missing components in children.
What are family values?
They are the ideals that our parents try to instil in us in order to ensure that we turn out as upright individuals. They are the major ingredient that determines whether a child will grow up to become an asset or a liability to society.
Some of these values include: speaking the truth at all times; living up to trusts and promises; showing respect for others’ points of view, etc.
They are required because they help kids become responsible citizens in the society.
How to revive your family values.
1. Start by envisioning how you want your child to turn out
Who do you want your child to be when he or she grows? How do you want him or her to relate with others? What kinds of characteristics do you want people to describe your child with?
These are questions you should ask to help you understand other actions to take.
Recommended: 8 Questions Every Parent Must Ask Themselves
2. Embody those values.
The best way to teach a child is to embody what you’re trying to teach. Children do what they see adults (especially parents) do.
If you want your child to be honest, you must become honest yourself. If you want your child to become hardworking, you must be hardworking yourself. In the same way, if you want your child to prioritize family life, you must also prioritize family life.
It’s that simple.
3. Spend time together to examine societal issues.
This is another very effective way to revive your family values.
Did a robbery, act of corruption, or negative behaviour happen around you recently? Discuss it with your children and help them understand why it is wrong.
These kinds of conversations will also give you the opportunity to correct your child’s understanding of right and wrong.
4. Reward good behaviour (cautiously)
Reward your child when he or she exhibits the kinds of values that you’re trying to instil. This will motivate your child to do more of those actions and gradually ingrain those values in them.
However, you must be cautious with the rewards, because they can backfire. When a child gets used to being rewarded for a particular action, he or she may lose sight of the importance of that action and focus on the reward only.
When the reward doesn’t come, the child may stop doing the actions.
The best way to deal with this is to make the reward more intrinsic, frequent, and less material. Instead of giving ice cream to the child because he spoke the truth, it is better to praise the child instantly and make him or her feel good inside for doing that.
Gentle, well-meant appraisals are more effective in the long term.
However, when you do decide to reward your child with a material thing, make it unexpected. Do not tell your child “if you tell me the truth always, I will buy you pizza.” That’s the fastest path to destroying your values.
5. Monitor your kids
It is important to monitor your kids and ensure that they are not just pretending to you. Try to see if they will still remain truthful outside the house or they are just deceiving mommy.
Do this only once in a while to avoid stalking your kids.
Maji is counting on you.
Remember Maji, our fictional town that was turned bad because of poor factories? That town is now counting on the factories of today who will return things to their normal state.
In the same way, our society is counting on you and your family to produce high standard individuals that will take us forward into the future. We need more self-driven, impact-oriented, and principled individuals. Play your part.