Trust The Children

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Whose Values Will They Use In Decision Making?

I hope I haven't written on this topic before. In my old age, my memory fails me from time to time.

On the surface, this post has to do with teaching our children about goal setting and goal achievement. Underneath, it has to do with much more.

The example I read was this. If the goal is to read 10 books in a year, and the goal is no more specific than that, then any 10 books will do. You could read a book on history, a book or two on sports, a few biographies and even some porn and all of it would contribute to the general goal of reading 10 books in a year.

However, what intervenes between setting the goal and achieving the goal is our values. If our values hold that porn is something we avoid like the plague, then that kind of book will not be part of the goal. Determining and being guided by our values, then, plays a really important role as we set goals and strive to achieve them.

Where this comes into focus is asking the question, "Who is more influential in helping my children establish values? The home life of our children, or the school life of our children (meaning schooling outside the home)?". I find this a valid question, because of how demanding in hours and days schooling is, outside of the home. There are at least 6 hours away from home, plus or minus, just in class and the lunchroom. Then add to that time in the bus. Add to that time spent doing the mountains of homework that they often come home with, which causes them to not be able to spend social time with the family at home. Add to that, both parents working in over 50% of the cases, causing them often, to come home tired, irritable and unprepared to focus on managing and shaping home life. The result can often be, that people other than us as parents are having more influence in modeling, teaching, and presenting values, than we as parents do.

One former school teacher I recently conversed with said that in her estimation, over 40% of the children in the public system where she had worked, had parents whose general attitude was to accept whatever the school offered without any questions as to quality or options that might benefit their children. She said, "This group is just happy their children are in school at all."

Of course, not all values outside of the home are negative, and not all values inside the home are positive. Still, for home schooling parents, it is good to remind ourselves that one positive option we have, if we take advantage of it, is to thoughtfully and purposefully execute a plan of influence, that exposes our children, in powerful and meaningful ways, to positive and moral values that will inform their decision making processes as they pursue their own goals, purposefully or coincidentally.

Again, between setting the goal and achieving the goal sit the values of our children, shaping and forming decisions they are making about the details of the goals, ie, the direction of their lives. While this might not seem to be a big deal when the are young, as the good book says, "raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Part of our home education opportunity, an important part, is exposing our children to positive and moral values that have proven over time to lead to joy and happiness instead of the counterfeits some all to often accept and use as they make life decisions.

Any help we receive from outside the home in the positive shaping of values is always welcomed. All too often, however, upon inspection, we can find, another value set, either from instructors and/or the organizations they work for, creeping into the subtleties of influence of our children work and study under. And what they do or don't do when we are not around, can often be an issue of poor values they adopted without us even knowing it has happened.

So home schoolers! Take advantage of this positive value shaping opportunity you have in your hands, "and when they are old, they ....."

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  • Those are very valid points I hadn't considered before, but which absolutely make sense. The longer I live, the more I see the value of home-schooling. Thanks for turning the cogs in my head on this matter - very thought provoking!

    By Blogger Joanne, at 5:59 AM, September 09, 2008  

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