Protecting Your Grandkids By Teaching Them Values
We live in a world where grandparents live longer than ever before ; and a world where grandkids need their grandparents more than ever before . With more parents working and too busy to give kids all that they need and to teach them all that they need to know , the only ones who can step into the breach are the grandparents .
And grandparents who do step in and step up are the happier and the more fulfilled for doing so .
We speak and lecture often to audiences that include a lot of grandparents , and the most frequent question we get is about how to make a difference . It comes in various wordings , but the essence is , “ What is the most meaningful and lasting thing I can do for my grandkids ?”
And we give a pretty specific answer :
The most important and consequential thing you can do for your grandchildren is to teach them VALUES !
Think about it : We all want to protect our grandkids , yet we can ’ t always be with them , nor can their parents . We want to protect them from physical danger , from bad choices and decisions , from being influenced too much by their peer group , from substance abuse and early sexual experimentation . If kids really internalize certain basic and universal VALUES , they will make the right decisions and choose the safe path .
We have a little experience with teaching values to kids and we want to share it with you . Our book Teaching Children Values became a N . Y . Times # 1 Bestseller and led to a year-long media tour that included Oprah , Donahue , The Today Show , Prime Time Live , and for a while a regular segment on the CBS This Morning Show . The reason the book continues to sell is that all parents and grandparents want their kids to embrace and live the universal values that will
make their lives full and that will protect them from bad choices and other dangers ; and the book presents 12 universal values , one for each month , so that parents can focus on one value at a time .
But here is the extra part that we want to share with grandparents : After the book had been out for a couple of years , a team of great story tellers and musicians took the 12 values from the book and created a simply marvelous set of audio " adventures "— elaborate and highly entertaining stories that help kids actually experience each value vicariously and embed it deeply into their souls . We have found that when grandparents give these stories to their grandchildren ( and perhaps listen to them together ) a real bond of shared values and ongoing discussions about these values takes place .
To give you an idea of the creativity and power of these stories , go to valuesparenting . com , click on the Alexander ’ s Amazing Adventures tab in the middle of the homepage , and then click the play button for the HONESTY adventure . As you listen , you will understand how influential and powerful these stories can be in helping kids to form their own set of values , and you will see how entertaining the stories are . ( We find that kids will listen to them over and over and as they do , each value becomes more real to them .)
The other 11 stories are on values like RESPECT , SELF-RELIANCE , and COURAGE . Once you and your grandchildren have heard one , you will want to hear them all . But don ' t rush through them ! Remember that the program is designed to focus your grandchild ' s attention on one single value each month . And it gives you the opportunity as a grandparent to talk about the month ’ s value multiple times during the month that you are concentrating on it .
The values we teach our grandchildren may be the greatest legacy we give them . Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that kids will just absorb and imitate the values that we exemplify for them or that they see in us or in their parents . But it doesn ’ t work like that . Children need to understand the meaning and the definition of each value , and to have examples of how to apply it in their everyday lives at school and with their peers . Stories are the best way to provide this because in a good story , particularly one with music and drama and adventure , kids can actually experience values and their consequences vicariously and the story becomes something of a case study , preparing the child for the real situations where they will make the right choices and take the safe path .
It behooves us all , as grandparents , to think seriously about the legacy we want to leave to our grandkids , and the most lasting legacy of all may well be the values that we teach them . Now is a good time to start !
Editor ’ s note : This is article 3 in a three-part series on Grandparenting . Some of the content of this article is taken from Richard Eyre ’ s book Being a Proactive Grandfather .
Richard and Linda Eyre are not affiliated with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC , or CWM , LLC . Opinions expressed by the authors may not be representative of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC , or CWM , LLC .
Richard Eyre and Linda Eyre are the New York Times # 1 best-selling authors of Teaching Your Children Values , as well as a dozen other parenting books . They are now focusing on writing and speaking to grandparents ( see lifeinfullcruise . com and lifeinfullonq . com ). Their latest book is Life in Full : Maximizing Your Longevity and Legacy .
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