As I sat watching the news about yet another political scandal, this time the New Jersey bridge scandal, that has cost a senior political adviser their job, and professional reputation, I am reminded how important it is that we teach our children that winning is not everything and how you play the game is extremely important in life.
These lessons really do start at a young age and follow you through to adulthood. Every parent I know wants to raise children who know the difference between right and wrong, who will do the right thing - especially when that is the harder thing to do in the moment. No parent wants their child to be at the center of a scandal, public or otherwise, when they are an adult that is the result of making the wrong choices.
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What can we do now as parents of children that will help our children make the right decisions when they are adults? The opportunities arise everyday. A few years ago I found this great tip on the Race to Nowhere site which suggested talking with your children about what success means for your family. In our family the definition of success includes the belief that winning isn't everything and how you play the game is important for living a happy and successful life.
At every chance we get we reinforce to our children that in our family success is made up of many actions that include treating others the way we would want to be treated, telling the truth, taking responsibility for our actions, trying our best and many other things.
Sharing our values with our children is another way we can prepare them for life as an adult. Modeling our values through our own actions, in how we treat others, standing up for someone, doing the right thing when no one is around. Sharing certain life experiences with your children is an important part of transferring this knowledge and awareness to them. Sharing stories with them about times when we have had to make tough decisions. Watching movies or reading books with certain messages that reflect your family's values and definition of success is another great way to share beliefs and life lessons with your children.
What are your actions teaching your children and how will that help or hinder them in adulthood? Think about it now because they are watching and learning from you everyday. Behind each of these scandals, political and otherwise, is an adult who did not learn these lessons.