I found a bunch of 'classic' videos in my church library last week. I remembered watching many of them as a teen and decided to bring them home and share them with my family. As we watched one, I realized there was a teaching opportunity I hadn't expected pertaining to a certain current event that had troubled me recently.
Subscribe to at least one newspaper. If you can, choose a local one, and then a more national one, so you can get a variety of current events. You can choose online or real paper. (you can even just do the Sunday edition, if you don't want a bunch of papers piling up. There will be plenty to choose from all week!) I like real paper because we can gather around it, and choose one that jumps out at us. Let the kids pick sometimes (or all the time), it will get them more interested. Once you have picked a topic, read the article out loud and start the discussion. I am teaching my children to search for truth with their hearts, conscience, and then minds. Ask them pointed thinking questions to help them get started. It doesn't hurt to sit there a few minutes in silence while they process. This will help them come up with questions and ideas they have. Then, share your family beliefs, expectations and values on the subject. Let them mull, even in awkward silence for a bit.
The current event that the movie brought out had both moral value questions and questions about how it could affect our own freedoms and other people in our lives. My kids range in age from 14 down to 5. Sometimes the topics may be over some heads, but they will glean something out. There is usually one big simple truth you can teach everyone, then get more detailed with the older ones as they ask. AND LET THEM ASK! Open it up to them, so it isn't just you up there expounding. Be sure to get down on their level, so they know this is a time to ask real (and sometimes hard or scary) questions. This will be a great way to keep the channels of communication open with your kids. If you are sharing a range of topics, even the touchy ones, they will see that it's totally cool to talk about anything with Mom or Dad. And THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!
I am a strong believer in sharing my customs and beliefs with my children! I think it is wise to give them a foundation on which to build. As they go about their life, they will come to crossroads, or uncharted waters. They will need to draw from somewhere or someone, what to do in this or that situation. If we have not shared what we believe or what we have done, what do they have to stand on? It is important for the next generation to know what we believe and how we did things. They can then decide if it’s something worth passing on. Sometimes, they are not, and it is wise to be choosy. If your beliefs are not shared, though, your children cannot judge them for themselves.
Winston Churchill said, “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.”I think this quote can be used in a family situation, too. Knowledge of family values can strengthen us in an hour of peril. Start sharing with your families today. You will find a new closeness and strength to your family. You will be confident that your kids can make choices and discern what is right and right for them.
Check out my other posts on how to implement a daily before school family devotional and how to teach your kids the constitution. I will post some other ideas on helping our families be strong and building kids with good character soon.