how do i teach morals/values.... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 10-16-2008, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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to my children, when i have no idea what mine are???

i have a very strange mix of beliefs varying from Pagan to Buddhist to even some conservative Christian!

i feel like my kids need a strong sense of what mom and dad believe, but when i dont even know for sure, how do i help them?

lately i've just questioned every one of my beliefs and values, and i feel SO lost.

any suggestions?

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#2 of 17 Old 10-16-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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i have a very strange mix of beliefs varying from Pagan to Buddhist to even some conservative Christian!
This is me too. Not sure if my reply will help, but more just sharing where I am at...

I haven't actually thought about needing to have my kids *know* what I do and believe in, other than how they see us living our life.

I guess because I grew up in a similar type household without strong outwardly known beliefs yet I just seem to know where my parents do and don't stand that I feel ok just continuing on as we are. We're not a big *rules* family so it's not like I feel that we need a list of values to live by, although in saying that I do have very loose values that I guess are what helps me make parenting and gentle discipline type decisions - be safe, be healthy, be kind. I find most things we go about in our life falls under those values but they're not something I go about talking to the kids about.

I will watch this thread for replies too.

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#3 of 17 Old 10-16-2008, 01:37 AM
 
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Well you can teach morality separate from spirituality. I'm an atheist, and all my ethics/morals are based on logic.

Basically - pursue your happiness, but never violate the rights of others. That's about the gist of it, and not violating the rights of others covers a whole lot of ground from lying to stealing to violence to disrespect.

I mean, there are certain timeless and "universal" values, i.e. honor, integrity, respect, loyalty, love, trust.

The spirituality - that can be anything you want. Even a mish mash of all kinds of religions. But, morality/ethics are universal IMO.

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#4 of 17 Old 10-16-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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Well you can teach morality separate from spirituality. I'm an atheist, and all my ethics/morals are based on logic.

Basically - pursue your happiness, but never violate the rights of others. That's about the gist of it, and not violating the rights of others covers a whole lot of ground from lying to stealing to violence to disrespect.

I mean, there are certain timeless and "universal" values, i.e. honor, integrity, respect, loyalty, love, trust.

The spirituality - that can be anything you want. Even a mish mash of all kinds of religions. But, morality/ethics are universal IMO.
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I couldn't have said any of this better myself. I'm an atheist too with very strong ethical and moral beliefs, I completely and totally agree with your sentiments.

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#5 of 17 Old 10-16-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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Two thoughts:

1) Kids learn from example much more than from being told or taught things.

2) Morality is based on empathy, and in a lot of ways is hard wired.

In other words, I don't think you need to try too hard. Just be a good person yourself (and you should instinctively know what that means) and you'll do fine.

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#6 of 17 Old 10-16-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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Two thoughts:

1) Kids learn from example much more than from being told or taught things.

2) Morality is based on empathy, and in a lot of ways is hard wired.

In other words, I don't think you need to try too hard. Just be a good person yourself (and you should instinctively know what that means) and you'll do fine.

I think that you can teach morals without a religious component. The "be kind to others and be a good decent person" type of morals. Sometimes it helps to have a reason behind doing so (as in I do explain the "whys" in religious terms with my ds), but I 'm sure it can be done without. I would sit down and think about what type of person you want your children to be and then think about what attributes you want to give them to get them there (self reliance, strong self of self, accountability/responsibility, compassion, etc). Then you can be sure to model these attributes and think of ways to teach them to your children.

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#7 of 17 Old 10-17-2008, 10:21 AM
 
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We do talk about being part of a larger community, beyond our town, beyond our state and trying to see the other side of the story. I am hoping the girls are getting the message that while we deem certain acts as being wrong, we don't judge a whole group of people based on one persons actions. We strive for this in our daily encounters. We also talk about how it is good to think for yourself, to stand uo for what we believe.

All of these things are spiritual for us because we do believe in some basic things 1)our bodies are part of the earth, 2) we are connected to the divine, 3) the world is a magical place.

For us, dh and I are of different beliefs but those 3 are universal to our religious choices.

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#8 of 17 Old 10-17-2008, 12:28 PM
 
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Well you can teach morality separate from spirituality. I'm an atheist, and all my ethics/morals are based on logic.
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I mean, there are certain timeless and "universal" values, i.e. honor, integrity, respect, loyalty, love, trust.
I have heard people say that before, and wondered about it. I can see how you can develop a moral code based purely on logic if you use a pragmatic argument: "If I do such-and-such, bad things will happen to me, or else to the society I live in, in the long run. Therefore it is best to avoid such-and-such."
The same kind of argument can be made if the "immoral" act is against the law.
I run short of possibilities at this point. Even the supposedly universal values are (A) interpreted as demanding different kinds of moral acts, or forbidding different immoral ones, depending on the individual belief system, and (B) not in themselves based on logic.
Are there other ethics or morals which can develop out of logic, and nothing else?
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#9 of 17 Old 10-17-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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I have heard people say that before, and wondered about it. I can see how you can develop a moral code based purely on logic if you use a pragmatic argument: "If I do such-and-such, bad things will happen to me, or else to the society I live in, in the long run. Therefore it is best to avoid such-and-such."
The same kind of argument can be made if the "immoral" act is against the law.
I run short of possibilities at this point. Even the supposedly universal values are (A) interpreted as demanding different kinds of moral acts, or forbidding different immoral ones, depending on the individual belief system, and (B) not in themselves based on logic.
Are there other ethics or morals which can develop out of logic, and nothing else?
What about looking to ancient Greek philosophy, such as Stoicism, etc.?

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#10 of 17 Old 10-18-2008, 01:29 AM
 
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I run short of possibilities at this point. Even the supposedly universal values are (A) interpreted as demanding different kinds of moral acts, or forbidding different immoral ones, depending on the individual belief system, and (B) not in themselves based on logic.
Are there other ethics or morals which can develop out of logic, and nothing else?
I personally believe, and have some evidence for this in my own research, that human society is hard wired to have core moral values - honesty, empathy, justice, etc - because:

1. humans rely on our societies to survive. Mothers traditionally do not give birth alone, because birth for humans is much more dangerous than for other animals. We have an extended period of babyhood/toddlerhood where it is physically impossible for a mother to gather enough calories for herself and her offspring AND carry the baby in her arms in most traditional hunter/gather environments, requiring communal support for raising children. And we are pretty weak - no sharp claws, soft skin that is easily pierced, etc.

Our strength is in our communal intelligence - together we are unstoppable (as evidenced by our explosion of 6 billion people from an estimated 1 million 10,000 years ago).

2. societies without a shared code of ethics such as honesty, justice, fairness, empathy - those societies fail, because those rules are required for a community of people to work together for a long time (generations). And when I say societies fail, I mean the individuals in them either all die, the society adapts these rules, or the society is overrun by another society which is better organized/stronger, etc.

Humans over and over again, throughout history, create independently variations of the golden rule, plus variations of the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not kill members of your own group (because a society cannot function when members are afraid of each other). Thou shalt not steal (because a society cannot function when its members do not respect the work and accomplishments of the others), etc etc etc. Treat people how you want to be treated. We always come back to the core basics, because they are central to our survival as a species.

Now, sure, there are individuals who lack these morals, but I see this as a disability, not an exception. Those individuals often have a very hard time living in society - we routinely expel those who break our rules (prison or exile).

And these core morals can be displayed in very different ways, especially related to gender and age based roles, customs, rituals, etc.

Where I think a lot of our morals break down is that they evolved in small communities, where accountability and repercussions were immediate and transparent. As we got bigger, it was easier to distance ones behavior from its impact. And I think this is the core of morality today - how do we apply these basic core values to living in our increasingly complex, and often geographically distributed world.

My 3 cents.

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#11 of 17 Old 10-18-2008, 02:17 AM
 
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Are there other ethics or morals which can develop out of logic, and nothing else?
Well, actually, for me, the logic comes in at this statement, often used by libertarians: "my freedom to swing my fist stops at your face."

In other words, I'm free to live my life as long as I do not violate the rights of others.

Because, once I violate the rights of others, I open myself up to having THEM violate MY rights in retaliation.

And I don't want my rights violated.

Ergo, I avoid violating the rights of others.

Personally, I think "do not violate the rights of others" covers everything in terms of rational ethics. Now, does it cover everything in terms of law/government? No. But, I don't think government laws are very logical, nor do I think most of them need to be followed, i.e. smoke and vote at 18, but don't drink until 21 ... (but, I'm an anarchist, lol).

Also, logically speaking, if I go around lying to people and stealing from them - eventually, I will alienate myself from others. No one will trust me, no one will want to be around me, no company will hire me. So, I will basically be an outcast. Logically, it's not in my best interest to be that outcast. I'm dependent on civilization and society. It's in my own best interest to make my interaction with society ethical.

Someone mentioned the Stoics - they certainly explained ethics in a very rational way.

Personally, I think unethical people are not stopped by law, religion, or logic. If a person is going to commit an unethical act - they're going to do it regardless of punishment. Psychologically there is something "off" about such people.

Most of us, I think, are fairly ethical people who will not commit serious crimes precisely because we know, inherently, that it is wrong to violate the rights of others, that we don't want our rights violated, and thus we should respect the rights of others.

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#12 of 17 Old 11-05-2008, 04:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cravenab00 View Post
to my children, when i have no idea what mine are???

i have a very strange mix of beliefs varying from Pagan to Buddhist to even some conservative Christian!

i feel like my kids need a strong sense of what mom and dad believe, but when i dont even know for sure, how do i help them?

lately i've just questioned every one of my beliefs and values, and i feel SO lost.

any suggestions?
I also felt that one before and what I did is I concentrate only in the bible. Try to read and obey what's the bible (pure bible) and you won't go wrong... The bible has a lot of lesson on how to raise a good children not only on that but on how also to have a happy family life.
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#13 of 17 Old 11-06-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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Most ethics are summed up within the golden rule. If you're looking for spirituality and a community to discuss/confirm those ethics that allow you the flexibility to be a pagan/Christian/Buddhist may I suggest a Unitarian congregation?
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#14 of 17 Old 11-06-2008, 01:15 PM
 
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Most ethics are summed up within the golden rule. If you're looking for spirituality and a community to discuss/confirm those ethics that allow you the flexibility to be a pagan/Christian/Buddhist may I suggest a Unitarian congregation?
::

Also, you might find the book "Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids without Religion" helpful.

We are a Unitarian Universalist Pagan family and have found a home at our local church. But I have always felt you didn't need religion to raise moral, ethical, and caring kids. It does help to belong to a community because we don't feel like we are "going it alone."
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#15 of 17 Old 11-06-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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You can just tell your kids you are still exploring and defining your spiritual beliefs just as they too will grow their own faith.

The moral/ethic stuff? In the most practical sense, just live it. The kids will follow suit.

If you need actual materials, why not look to the library? Mine's a preschooler so the things she gets books like "Hands are not for Hitting. You can find them one at a time or get a set of character building books like this example set:

http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/seo...re/viewall.jsp

HTH!
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#16 of 17 Old 11-06-2008, 07:57 PM
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i agree with the PP, particularly Sailor.

a lot of morals/values/ethics are simply the universal ideas of how we treat ourselves, each other, and the earth. you might find it helpful to ennumerate them in some way (write them down).

with this, you might also find it helpful to find stories from what you spiritually follow (the traditions that inspire you) that illustrate these ideas. you will likely discover that the basic idea of generosity transcends religion and you might find stories from each spiritual group that you enjoy that illuminates this idea.

and you can share those values and those religious traditions that inspire you with your children without asserting that they must follow those religions, or perhaps they will find stories that inspire them from a variety of sources as well.

in the end, i wouldn't worry about it at all. my husband and i are deeply spiritual people who tend to be non religious but very much into spiritual traditions and practices from a variety of places, as well as the wisdom of those traditions (though we mostly practice buddhism). we're sure that our son will be fine, spiritually speaking.

my mother, devote catholic, isn't so sure, but that's her business.
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#17 of 17 Old 11-06-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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sometimes it isnt the end result but the journey that is more important.

it isnt so much what you believe in but how you try that matters.

lets face it. when they are older and making decisions for themselves - they are going to break most of them to figure out where they stand. so they will figure it out for themselves anyways.

i do strongly believe its more what you practise as others said rather than what you say. many things cant be taught. they can just be experienced.

the key is sticking to your truth whatever they may be. its when you try to 'teach' something that you dont believe in that becomes transparent and false.

i dont follow a lot of what my parents believed in and wanted us to be. there is a kernel of truth in everything they said. i have learnt only recently to take the kernel that rings true to me and leave the rest.

i try and speak out my reactions to my dd - so she has a clue why i am behaving or reacting.

plus of course there is all that one picks up from people around us.

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