Teaching children values is as important as teaching ABC.

I put a lot of emphasis on values in children and in particular in kindness. A little kindness towards another goes such a long way. 

I guess the reality is that as adults we lose sight of our own values and if we are going to teach our children it is really important that we know what our values are before we try and teach our youngsters. Here is a way to help you reconnect with your values.  

1. Write down a list of all the things that are important to you, like honesty, love, compassion, kindness, learning and integrity. There will be others that may not resonate with you but just write them down and think about what they might be going against.

 2. Now, write a list of all the skills and things that you would like to have that that are important to you. It could include financial freedom, engage in team sports, career success or go on holidays regularly. There are so many and I am sure I am not alone when I say I wish I was more like Sarah or Jane they can just …. be elegant, mix, talk to anyone and so on. What values do you think they have?

3. Next, write a list of the things that are important for you to be known for, like being known for always smiling or for keeping your word, being kind to others, listening. 

4. Go through each list and edit it down to one word. Take, for example, the importance of being known for smiling. You can consider that as “love” or “kindness”.

5. Amalgamate all the lists into one big point. You should find that there are lots of repetitions across the lists. That will help you realise how important this value is to you. 

6. Next and this is the tough one, put all the items on the list into an order of importance and this is personal to you, your partner may look at your list and say happiness it your most important value, but possibly you can only be happy if other values are there first. It probably won’t be easy to prioritise so take a few days and keep coming back to it. The most important part is to get it right, your values must be in the actual order of importance to you and not the importance you think they ought to be in -don’t judge yourself.

8. Take the top 5 items on your list and write them on a new piece of paper. These are your core values so they are the ones that should mean the most to you. Pin the list up somewhere and come back to it over the next few days or weeks. Ultimately, things may change subtly and the order may change over time. You may realize that some of the things you didn’t think were so important are actually crucial. 

10. Finally, do the same thing with your child. This is far more difficult as many of their values will come from you and your partner, their grandparents and their community. We currently live in Dubai and the community values for my children are very different to the ones that I grew up with.

Whenever something happens in your life that causes you to stop and think, assess it from your list of values. Get into the habit of relating what’s happening back to your list of values. As a result, you’ll find your life becoming smoother because you’ll be making decisions from a point of alignment with what’s important to you.

Imagine how much easier a child’s life would be if they could grow up being able to do that. This reduces their internal conflict and they can make the right decision for them based on their strong values. You must remember that this is your child’s list and this is their values for the way they want to live their lives. It will have some elements of maturity and some elements that you will not want to see on their list. Over time you can help them see which values are good values that they should hold on to and let guide the way for them. 

Remember whatever your educational background, faith or upbringing you will always have followed a community norm. I was brought up in a small village in the West of Wales and for me our community norm, was family, kindness, welcoming and sharing. These values transcend to my children and visitors even today. All our guests always comment how they instantly feel part of our family even when they meet us (my husband or children) for the first time. 

I now run a lovely Educational company in Dubai with a team of amazing inspiration staff who all share the same values as me. We offer courses to help you and your children re-evaluate your values and help you as a family come up with a common set of values to help you all develop greater harmony in your lives. 

Kid Full Educational Services LLC is a small British run educational company in the heart of Dubai that delivers educational enrichment. It supports children to succeed in all areas of their lives. The CEO and Founder Heather Harries is an inspirational leader who can always make children feel valued and using her unique skills can encourage children to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible.  (For more information call Kids Full Offices on 04 966 9723)