Why values in a family are so important part 2
In the last article I wrote on how we as a family implement principles and values into our children.
How we don’t simply “go with the flow” but deliberately choose what we want to accept into our family. We don’t let just anything our society presents to us enter our home, our family; even more, we examine everything according to our values we want to live by.
We are well aware that Family is the foundation of a healthy, thriving society.
- Family should be the place where children learn about their value, identity and worth.
- Family should be a place where children are satisfied in their need not only for clothing and food but warmth, attachment, identity, worth, direction, guidance.
- Family should be a place of transmission of affective, psychological and cultural values.
- Family in its original design is not only a godly institution, it is as well a basic cell, a defender of cultural tradition
I am well aware that those points mentioned above sound almost fairy tale-ish in the society we live in. I know many parents who wanted that for their children. They had values and beliefs they wanted to implement into their children and many of those children turned their back on them, sometimes long before the dreaded teenager years.
There are many advices and books suggesting (well, many of them aren’t suggesting put imposing) their view of how to remedy this problem:
- “Children need discipline. Then they will be all right.”
- “Children need love and affirmation. Then they will be all right.”
- “Children need limits and structure. Then they will be all right.”
- “Children need freedom and space to discover themselves. Then they will be all right.“
Some of the above advices sound good to me. However, in my observation, none of them have much to do with the real issue here:
How can we implement values into our families, in a way that our children will actually live by them?
In past times, culture (and with culture, values) were passed down vertically from generation to generation. Tradition of customs, music, the way to dress, the celebrations and stories. Culture was being passed down vertically.
Today culture (and therefore values) are transmitted horizontally from peer to peer.
Jim Taylor, Ph.D, from „psychology today“ states the following in this article:
“Few parents fully appreciate how popular culture affects their children’s lives. Even fewer realize how truly harmful it is to children, families, communities, and to our society as a whole. Popular culture attacks children at their most basic level, the values that guide their lives. It promotes the worst values and disguises them as entertainment. Reality TV, for example, has made the “seven deadly sins” — pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth — attributes to be admired. Throw in selfishness, deceit, spite, humiliation, cruelty, and vengeance-all qualities seen and revered in popular culture-and you have the personification of the worst kind of person.
Popular culture is like a network of saboteurs that infiltrate your family’s lives with stealth and deception, hiding behind entertaining characters, bright images, and fun music. You probably don’t notice half of the unhealthy messages being conveyed to your children. Popular culture is also an invading army that overwhelms your children with these destructive messages. It attempts to control every aspect of your children’s lives: their values, attitudes, and beliefs about themselves and the world that they live in; their thoughts, emotions, and behavior; their needs, wants, goals, hopes, and dreams; their interests and avocations; their choices and their decisions. With this control, popular culture can tell children what to eat and drink, what to wear, what to listen to and watch, and children have little ability to resist.“
With that we are back to what we looked at in the last article:
Philosophies are powerful and are being brought to the awareness of our children in a persuasive way. Like the article says, “Television, music, publicity, social media, radio, newspaper” – In Switzerland we have this free newspaper you can pick up at more than 1600 places in the german part of Switzerland.
A newspaper enforcing the values and philosophies of our society.
So to say, we live in a society where the pressure, the exposure and the power of persuasion are everywhere.
This is the reality we raise our children in. This is the crisis we live in.
As I showed in the last article, the crisis in not limited to Bolivia where Morales refuses to leave his long overdue position as president, wanting to impose dictatorship upon that beautiful nation.
This crisis is not strictly economic and political. Rather, it is a crisis of principles and values.
So the question – many times it is more a cry from parents losing their kids to society- remains: How can we, as a family, protect our children from the power of this “propaganda”, this power of persuasion in action everywhere?
How can we, as parents know our values and stand for them and even more importantly: how can we transmit them to our children, even if they differ from the “Pop culture or Mainstream-opinion?”
This year, the new law in France obliges children from the age of three (instead of the obligatory age of six before) to attend “école maternelle”. (Playschool)
In Germany , the law is clear: “when it comes to children’s education, the children belong to the state.”
When I was a child, kindergarten was from the age of six for one year. Today, the age is lowered to four and 2 years of Kindergarten are mandatory.
( A good friend told me that in the city here in Switzerland where she lives, families – depending their economic and personal situation – receive 4000 Swiss Francs for each child from the state in order that they can send them to a daycare center. (My friend doesn’t and stays home. This makes them have a minimum income. When people ask her if she doesn’t miss the luxury of more money she tells them: My biggest luxury is to have my children with me.”
In this article I would like to add the points Jim Taylor, Ph.D, from „psychology today“ states (in the same article as above)
“An essential step in joining your children in the fight against popular culture is to know your children’s enemy. Study popular culture. Watch what your children watch on television, play their video games, listen to their music, visit the Web sites they surf, read the magazines they read. Then, understand the value messages they are getting from popular culture. Television, movies, and video games glamorize violence, sexuality, wealth, celebrity, and the use of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. Fashion and celebrity magazines affect how girls think about their bodies, the amount they diet and exercise, and the occurrence of eating disorders. The Internet gives your children limitless access to a universe of inappropriate information.
Only with this knowledge are you in a position to battle popular culture with your children. With this information, you gain the power to protect your children from popular culture and prepare them to combat popular culture when you’re not with them. You can use this power by being positive, conscious, and active forces in your children’s lives.
Don’t be seduced by popular culture’s messages (you’re vulnerable too!).
Make informed decisions about what your children watch, play, listen to, and surf.
Talk to your children about the unhealthy influence of popular culture.
Say “NO” to popular culture.
I’ve come to the conclusion, that we should really take the time to sit back and actively think about these values ourselves, instead of just believing and accepting what is spoon-fed to us. It is so helpful to study what is behind these philosophies, to get awareness about their background. It is essential to consciously choose what we believe.
In the next article we will see an additional point Benny and I are applying into our family on how we can prevent losing – or win back – our children from being snatched away by philosophies, pop culture and mainstream.