We’re excited to welcome Mary Hunt of Debt Proof Living to our blog today to share a little bit about the values of parenting. Debt Proof Living is one of our wonderful Family Week partners that we are thrilled to be working with!
Parenting has to be one of the most important if not most challenging jobs in the entire universe. Yet, it requires no license or degree — not even an entrance exam. And just when you learn the ropes and get really good at it, your job up and leaves home without you.
I have been a parent for a lot longer than I wasn’t one. My time on the job and a couple of terrific children may not qualify me as an expert, but they have given me a wonderful opportunity to discover some effective and dependable principles that work to equip kids with the values and financial skills they will need in the real world.
Really knowing your child is how you pass on your values. But it is possible to live under the same roof with people who eat your food and have the same name, without ever really knowing them. It happens all the time. If you haven’t already, get to know your child.
Every child is a unique creation. Your child is unlike anyone in your family or anywhere on earth. Everything he or she is or can become is all there, wrapped up in that tiny bundle. And it’s your child’s bents, characteristics, abilities and tendencies that serve as the conduits through which you can pass on your values. Establishing a strong and dependable connection with your child’s heart is the way to deliver life-guiding values.
But how do you do that? Through your life. The way you live. The time you spend together as a family. Kids learn most effectively through observation and imitation. It’s the witness of our lives, more than anything we say, that is taken in slowly and cumulatively by our children.
Kids drink in everything around them. They see the way we act with others. They listen to everything we say. They observe the way we handle our money. They hear what we say on the telephone, and the way we deal with people. Kids compare what they see with what they are told, and in the case of conflicting information they usually go with what they see.
There are many ways to communicate your values to your children. Lectures, talks, books and discussions; reminders, discipline and religious education with all of its related activities serve to share your values.
And although these methods of communicating count for a great deal, they cannot come close to the importance of your children spending time with you, observing you living out your values consistently, specifically and diligently day in and day out. That’s the surest way to pass on to your children the values and principles they need to guide their lives — values that will take root in their hearts, not simply stick on the outside until they can get up and leave home without you.
Spend time with your kids, letting them catch you in the act of living your values!
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, an organization consisting of an interactive website, monthly newsletter and personal finance tools. Since 1992, DPL has been dedicated to its mission to provide hope, help and realistic solutions for individuals who are committed to financially responsible and debt-free living. She is the author of 21 books, including her newest release, Raising Financially Confident Kids. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you enter to win a 1 year membership to Debt Proof Living and a copy of Raising Financially Confident Kids on our Facebook page.