In our 21st century world where most of our human values are fast eroding, integrity is one of the core values that is getting scarce by the day and an easier way to save this virtue from extinction is to teach and practice it with our children – the younger generation.
Some of the ways we can become intentional in teaching our children to imbibe this virtue are listed below:
Walk your talk: You are your child’s first teacher and your child will imitate your actions whether you know it or not. Be conscious and cautious with conversations around telling the truth. If your child listens while you lie to someone (especially over the phone), it becomes very difficult to teach your child otherwise. Also, do not allow situations that involve lies to just go under the carpet, use the opportunity to admonish on why they must always tell the truth
Share experiences: Tell a story of how you/others succeeded by showing that you can be trusted and relied upon. Also, share stories where you/others failed because of dishonesty/cheating. Most importantly, allow your child to identify the gains and losses (moral lessons) in your story.
Create reminders: You can create a song, poem, picture or a routine that reminds each family member to practice Integrity.
Simulate: Engage in a type of pretense play that can help you test if your child makes effort at practicing integrity. For instance, if your child likes to play games with his/her device and you have taught him/her to always ask for permission before using it, pretend to be asleep and see if your child would go ahead and use it or would wait until you wake up.
When we model, interpret, practice and simulate situations that portray integrity, we help our children see that achieving a character of integrity is possible and rewarding.
“It takes courage to create a meaningful life of integrity. It also requires good company. And practice.”