Teaching Children Ethics: How I Plan To Raise My Son
It is my perception that the foundation of good ethics stem from a person that loves themselves and looks after themselves well.
The first lesson I was taught when I went into community management was that,
“If you can’t love and look after yourself then how will you expect to go forth and show others how to love and look after themselves?”
It is my belief that you should treat others as you yourself would like to be treated in any situation, and that includes my Son.
Loving yourself is probably the greatest activism in a world that continually tells everyone they are broken and need to be fixed. If you love yourself then there’s no internal anger, no resentment, no sadness, no depression – just internal peace, and an outlook that fosters cohesion, collaboration, and unison.
My Son is only 8. He has Autism. I think I will have an uphill struggle in front of me when it comes to the time when I will have to separate the black from the white and introduce him to the grey in life. He’s a very either/or minded child, and at present, there is no third option because third options are too confusing – there is no middle ground. I can’t be “a moment,” “several minutes,” or “a while,” I have to be exactly how long I say I will be else he’ll get frustrated.
We’ve got him down to loving himself though. I asked him yesterday if he loved himself and he told me that he did – something I’m proud of because I couldn’t say that at his age. Apparently, Alex loves himself and he thinks that he’s a really nice boy to know. Nothing wrong in that so far, right? I mean he IS only 8. And he understands that he gets angry and that it’s fine to get angry as long as he’s not throwing or hitting because then he’ll get punished. He’s developing a strong moral compass.
We haven’t allowed Alex to play any games that are over his age yet. In fact, he shy’s away from anything that looks like it could be violent or adult themed. I’ve never had to lock my games on the Xbox because he’s never been interested in playing them, and yes, I’ve been checking. We’re so lucky to have a boy that wants to be good and do good for people. I understand this can change when puberty hits though. I was the same. Never in trouble at School, always did well. Then…
I feel lucky though. I don’t worry much; we’ve always guided him as strongly as we could, injecting both of our wisdom into his little mind. Sometimes I’ll fly off the handle and make him cry so he’ll get warm cuddles from me and a sorry for going overboard. I’ve always said people aren’t perfect and I think it’s important that he mirrors our behavior when it comes to making mistakes; and, that mistakes aren’t that important. After all, we build on our mistakes, right? It took me years to get him to understand that in gaming – making mistakes is how we become better at the games we play.
So much to teach him, so little time.
I just hope he learns it all before I did. I feel rather old to be learning this; I feel a bit behind that I didn’t have good guidance as a child.
I don’t want him to turn out like us. I want him to turn out like an awesome version of himself that molds with the turning tides of society; forever understanding the force and never pushing against it but making the necessary changes to his life so that he can live comfortably alongside the push of change.
I think the three most important things I can teach him in life when it comes to ethics is learning to deal with change positively, learning to grow with his mistakes, and teaching him about the grey area – I think these are a great lead on from loving himself. Loving himself is a great first step, but he must go forth and spread those wings – anything can happen in the future to strip that core away from him; he needs to have a good understanding of how to listen and learn, as well as be the mentor for others – because in life just as many people will look up to him, as he will others.
I’m not a great believer in fear tactics. Believe this or else. I want my son to go his own way and find his own path, and at times he’ll come back with questions for me and after I’ve answered them he can go away and form his own conclusions. As I’ve always said, we lead by example, especially when it comes to our children – and if I give him the option to go away and decide things for himself then I allow him to have his own mind; with guidance, of course!
We always think we can control our children, but we forget they are their own people, and apart from love, support and guidance there’s nothing we can do to control them. Too much control and you might find them firing off like a cannon when it’s time to leave home.
So, in conclusion; my recipe for ethics is love, support, guidance, and trust in myself that he’ll be well.
—Photo by Rhone on Unsplash