Toddler values

Living and Learning Values Can Start Early

September is all about Friends and Feelings in the Toddler Patch at Mason’s daycare. The toddlers have a daily curriculum (yes, I said toddler and curriculum in the same sentence) that allows them to explore emotions, sharing and the keys to friendship. Some of the lessons include “I am Special”, “Taller Together” “Community Puzzles” and “Accidents Happen”.

Sweet, right? It’s almost as adorable as the miniatures who have been working their way through the curriculum day in and day out this month. I can hardly wait to see what October brings. But beyond being cute, these lessons are important. They are building blocks and will help to define and instill something even greater into our future generation: values.

And while it may seem a bit silly to have a lesson plan for these wee-ones, now is the perfect time. Babies and tots are like little sponges soaking up the world around them.

The jury is out on whether values can actually be taught, by the way, but it’s not something I am going to gamble on.

Fortunately – or unfortunately – the most important part of teaching values is to model them yourself. As Mason gets older, I can’t just talk the talk. I will need to walk the walk.

For my husband and me, there are 6 fundamental values that we want to show our son.

  1. Acceptance. We are all different and that is a good thing. I want Mason to respect, love and show compassion first.
  2. Community – Being part of something greater, working for the common good and celebrating community.
  3. Responsibility – This is a two-fer because it also teaches discipline.
  4. Patience – I’ll leave this one up to my husband to teach.
  5. Honesty – I think this is a given. Sometimes telling the truth is difficult but it’s the right thing to do.
  6. Humility – We all make mistakes, and when we do we need to say “I’m sorry.”

My hope is that he will carry these values with him throughout life and surround himself with those who share similar attitudes and beliefs – and that could mean more than making friends who believe in the same set of core values. It could mean working for an employer who operates on the same ideas.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve got to say that aligning myself with an organization that lives its values to Do Good. Be Good. Make Good just plain feels good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love my job because the company I work for stands for something meaningful and the work is rewarding. I’ve been given the opportunity to stand by my values in the workplace and I hope the same will be true for Mason.

If working a job that you love for a company that does good is as important to his generation as it is to mine (I’m a millennial and proud of it) then I’m confident Mason will make that a reality.