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nurturing a child's character
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Nurturing a Child’s Character

Kaye Cooper

Young children from birth to about age eight are laying the foundation of their character. It is fortunate this occurs while loving parents can have so much influence over what they are exposed to. They can be lovingly guided in ways that assure that they will live lives of high personal values and develop a wise, courageous character. Values are the ideals, the honorable qualities which make someone a good person. If young children are not treated in ways that nurture good character in their early years, it is quite difficult to correct character deficits when they are older.

Being a Source of a Child’s Values

Into the hands of parents, close family, and caregivers is placed the formative years for each child. A child is a unique, significant, and precious being who has eternity ahead of him or her. He will be learning, growing, and contributing to the welfare of the universe for untold ages to come.

Parents and others who help to care for children have the primary responsibility to enable the child to grow into a person of good character—an individual who is:

  • Secure
  • Optimistic
  • Wise
  • Kind
  • Genuine
  • Compassionate
  • Courageous
  • Resolute
  • Spiritual

This is a monumental task! As well as a sacred responsibility. No one else is charged with helping children to develop the values of excellent character.

Being the Model

When caring for a child, you are constantly modeling the kind of person you are. Your child will imitate you. Because your values are expressed by your every action, every decision, and every word, you cannot hide them. If you work at it, you will learn how to become the person she needs—you will grow into the job! As you live your own ideals minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour, you will bring to life your values and ensure that her values will be similar. She will adopt the values to which you are loyal. When asked who had the most influence on the person they became, an adult will often point out fondly a parent, grandparent, or special caregiver as the one. Even when this is not acknowledged, it is nevertheless true.

Even before she can learn from your words, she will be absorbing, at a profoundly deep level, the values in you that she observes and experiences. If your values reflect love, caring, kindness, and wisdom, she will fall in love with those higher values. Both her life and yours will be eternally blessed by your efforts.

Living Values in Ordinary Life

You live your life with a child one ordinary moment at a time. Your primary opportunity to make a difference for this planet and in the eternal lives of the children entrusted to you is in those ordinary moments. You live out your values every day. The first eight years are a precious and quickly passing opportunity for you to give your child an eternal gift of worthy values and noble character.

Your child’s real educational growth shows itself in the growth of his values, the way a value takes on new meaning with his experience, and his growing loyalty to higher and higher values. The values to which he is loyal define his character.

Your child learns what kind of person she is and who she can become from the way you treat her on a day-to-day basis.

In the process of raising a child of noble character, you are repeatedly challenged to grow in your own character—and that is why it is the most challenging thing you will attempt!       

 

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