Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Teach Them While They're Young

We all have different values, different morals, different things we want our kids to do or believe.  This post isn't about what is right or wrong, but about teaching our kids to follow what we know to be right.

I am not claiming myself as an expert, in fact I have written about the fact that with parenting the only consistent thing is that once you get it figured out something will change.  

You first have to figure out what you believe, what you want for your kids, what you believe is important.  Then start young.

Want your kids to be polite and have good manners?   Start young.  Want your kids to watch and read good and appropriate media?  Start young.  Want your kids to dress modestly?  Start young.
A part of my faith and religion is dressing modestly, not to help boys have pure thoughts or not be a temptation, or anything like that, but as a respect for our God given bodies and as an outward symbol of our respect and love of God.  

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, my standard of modesty is at a greater level than the general public; knee length skirts or shorts, no low necklines or even sleeveless clothes.  Now do I think someone is immodest if they don't dress this way, especially if they are not of my faith, heck no! 

I am not writing this post to call anyone out on immodesty as if you believe differently than I do, then what your hold yourself to as modest is different than what I hold myself to. 

I want my children to share my faith and beliefs as it has brought the most happiness, the most stability, and the best moral compass in a world that can leave you tumbling around in a realm or moral relativism.  

So I begin when my kids are young.  If I find a cute dress for Alex that is too short, I don't buy it.  Shorts that barely cover the butt or just aren't long enough, I don't buy them.  A sleeveless dress that is actually long enough, I buy it but I also buy a cute sweater or shirt to go underneath it.  Yes, it limits our options, yes it is hard to find clothes at times, but it is what is important, so I do it.

I teach them when they are young.  I help my children understand why the things I believe are important to me and why I hope and pray that they will be important to them also.  

This last Sunday I tossed Alex's dress down the stairs for her and told her to get dressed, while I went and found clothes for the boys.

She got dressed, but called to me from the bathroom, barely opening the door.  "Yes?" I asked as I approached the door.

"Something is wrong with this dress." Alex said pointing to the sleeves, or lack thereof.
"Did you get the shirt I tossed down too?" I asked.
"Oh no, I missed that." she said relieved.  I retrieved the shirt from the stairs and gave it to Alex and she finished getting dressed.

I stopped and enjoyed that moment.  Pride in that fact that she is learning, pride that dressing in a way different than what I am teaching her makes her uncomfortable and that she realizes something 'is wrong'.

Our children can do great and amazing things, we just need to expect it of them.  We need to not give in and say, oh well everyone else is doing it, it really doesn't matter, or even, well they are young so it is okay now, they can get away with it.  If it matters to you, then stick to what you know.  Lead by example, teach, instruct, praise and even correct when it is needed.  It all begins at home.  It all begins with us actually stepping up and doing our jobs as parents.  It begins when they are young.


Linking up with Shell's PYHO


  1. I think it's so important to start young. With whatever it is that you want to teach(it's not modesty here, at least not to the extent you teach it, though we do have some standards). If kids are allowed to do whatever when they are young, it's confusing to late but a set of rules on them and expect them to completely change how they've always been.

    Our pastor once said that raising kids is like holding a funnel, where you start when they are young, holding on tight and as they grow, you have to loosen your grip and hope what you've taught sticks.

    1. Yes, exactly! While some things I think are cute on little kids and really not as big of a deal, there are certain ways I don’t want her to dress as a teen- but when will that day be that it suddenly isn’t I just start now. And yes, I know there will be many things that I will have to decide are not worth the battle and the more important things to battle for, but with starting young, hoping (fingers crossed) there will be a few less battles.

  2. I agree with teaching our kids from a young age. I have my own standards about modesty and my girls are learning that is just the way we are in our family. I'm also teaching them the value of money starting now so they'll understand concepts like giving and saving. We do the traditional 10% give 20% save 70% spend model and it's been so amazing watching them move from spending all their money to saving up for something special. I almost cried one week when my daughter put all her spend money in her give jar. Her church class is sponsoring a girl through compassion international and she wanted to give more. In that moment I realized we were doing something right.

    1. That is so awesome!! And yes, it is amazing how many kids have no idea about money or the worth of money, so that is so important to teach them young too. So awesome that your daughter is not only learning to save money but to give and be charitable.

  3. Oh yes, I agree! Definitely start young on teaching them the things that are important to you and the that you want to matter to them too. Such a great point. And the fact that your daughter knew... love it! :)

    1. Yes, it was definitely a proud moment as she is the one that definitely fights me about the most stuff in general.

  4. This is so true. So much harder to teach once they're older and more set in their ways!

    1. Yes, for sure! I know there will still be battles when they are teens, and things I will just have to let go at times, but life will be so much easier if they learn now

  5. I could not agree more that it is so important to start teaching children young. They are such sponges growing up, and we want to instill the best values possible. I also believe that how you present yourself affects their way of thinking too. Great post Emmy!

  6. Way to go Alex! Way to go Mom!

  7. It definitely makes a difference to start those lessons early. It is awesome that your daughter is picking up on your values.

  8. I really love this: "not to help boys have pure thoughts or not be a temptation, or anything like that, but as a respect for our God given bodies and as an outward symbol of our respect and love of God."
    This makes me happy. I am so glad Church culture is getting away from that now!
    How sweet that Alex was so concerned with being modest. You are such a wonderful mother!