by: Shevach Pepper
How do you feel when your boss lectures you about something that you did or suggested and ends his talk with, “I own this company, I’ve been in this business longer than you, and I sign your paycheck. I don’t care how good of an idea you think you have just do what I say and keep your ideas to yourself!”? I’m sure you don’t feel too good, you are not motivated from such talk and it doesn’t build in you a sense of loyalty to the company.
If this is true for you, an adult who is supposed to have some control over your emotions, just imagine how ineffective such lectures are to transmit your values and to convince children of your views.
How then, you might ask, can you fulfill your parental obligation to pass on your values, life’s lessons that you learnt the hard way, and prepare them for life without lecturing them? The answer is to tell stories and personal anecdotes that show the values that you feel are important for your children to learn. Story telling is the most pleasant, gentle, and effective way to get your message across.
Here a few tips on how I do this with my children:
I wait for a time when a few of the older children are just sitting around listening to music,doing homework, or noshing (especially chocolate).
- I lean on a wall in the living room (to be as informal as possible) and say, “Do you want to hear what happened to me today?” (I don’t wait for an answer) or “I heard the most unbelievable story today…”
- I never start by saying, “I heard this story about honesty today.” I’m afraid if I would start like that they would shut off their ears thinking, “Oh no. Here comes another “goodie-goodie” lecture.” I just give a general introduction and jump right into the story.
- Obviously, I also don’t end off with a statement like, “and therefore I expect you ….”. I just say, “I was so impressed with his courage or his honesty. I don’t know how he did it but I wish I would be so strong”
Try it and you’ll know that you are successful when, at a later time (sometimes even years later), your children live with those values and even quote you the stories that you told them.
About The Author
Shevach Pepper is the happy father of 12 children. Go to http://www.greatfamilyman.com/sp24.html