There’s a program on ABC2 called Little Princess (don’t pretend you haven’t seen it), in which this annoyingly spoilt little princess rules the kingdom – with an extremely annoying voice. For some reason we also have a book that goes with the series called “I want to be…” in which the Little Princess is trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. She gathers all sorts of advice about being brave, good at swimming, clean etc, before the maid (who as far as I can tell is the only sensible one in the entire castle) asks the Little Princess what she wants to be.
|image from here|
Lately I have been pondering what I want my children to be like when they are adults (apart from the fact that I never want them to grow up). When they are small they are full of immediate demands for food, entertainment, cuddles, nappy changes etc. Sometimes sheer exhaustion pushes out the longer term thoughts about what we want for our children when they grow up (sometimes it can be hard to think about what is for dinner).
To be honest I don’t really care whether my kids are good at swimming (though I would like them to be). I kind of hope that they might be clean. I don’t mind what sort of job they do once they leave school.
What I do want is for them to be caring, compassionate and kind. I want them to be strong and independent; brave when needed. I want them to be hard working and responsible I want my children to have a heart for serving others.
How do you teach your children these things? I can teach my children to tie their shoe laces, cook a meal, or write their name, and I can see straight away whether how well I have taught them. I am less sure how I can teach my kids to be kind and compassionate; to consider the needs of others as well as their own. There is no formula to follow, no instruction booklet. Hardest of all, the results are long term, and by the time we see them, it can be too late.
All I can do is my best. All I can do is model the kinds of attitudes and behaviours I want my children to learn. All I can do is pray that they will learn those things which are so important to me.
It is so hard to parent with a long term goal at times. The Little Princess might be cute as a 4 year old, running around the castle, demanding everything her way, but one day she will grow up. An adult who behaves like the little princess is not cute, just sad.
I would love some inspiration – what sort of things do you do to help instill your values in your children?