Five values I want to teach my son

This week I have felt incredibly sad as I have watched the news and thought about the world. I watched a documentary on Syria. I watched another documentary about the Mediterranean which included stories of migrants trying to reach Europe. I saw news about detention centres for Uighurs in Xinjiang. I thought about Yemen. I closely followed the elections in Afghanistan and noted the violence and corruption that accompanied them.

I certainly don’t have any of the answers. I also think that taking sides or seeing any of these issues as black-and-white is part of the problem. But I have also thought about my son and his future and the world that he is and will be growing up in. He is not even one year old yet. As I reflected on all of this I thought of five values I would like to pass on to him.

1. To know that God is good.

Psalm 145:8-9 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

I know that this will be a controversial for some. I certainly don’t expect all my readers to share my faith. But this is a very important one for me. If God is good, there is hope. If God is good, we are all created in His image. If God is good, the brokenness that we see is the result of a fallen world and will eventually be put right. If God is good, redemption is possible. If God is good, He can be the perfect Father even when I don’t measure up as a father.

2. To be kind to people.

I want my son to know the value of kindness. Not just to people that are kind to him, and not just to people that he likes. The world needs more kind people. People that are kind to those who are different from them. People that are kind even when it costs them something.

Because kindness ultimately brings more joy than “success.” Kindness connects people. Kindness changes people.

3. To have an interest in the world.

I want my son to be interested in the world beyond his hometown. Or hometowns. I want him to love adventure. To travel. To be fascinated by cultures different from his own. I want him to see language learning as a doorway into a new world rather than a boring class at school. I want him to read. I want him to see how history and geography have connected and shaped all of us.

4. To cherish nature.

I want my son to experience the beauty of nature. The views from the tops of mountains and the sound of waves crashing on beaches. The wonder of the stars and the complexity of life. I want him to understand that nature is awesome and powerful and valuable and fragile. And to know that all of our actions can have an impact, both positive and negative.

5. To value working with his hands.

I want him to experience the satisfaction of exploring and fixing and making things with his hands. I want him to know that if he wants to, it is okay for him to choose a career where he works with his hands. And if he does not, I want him to treat people who do with dignity and respect and admiration. I want him to know that generations of people have made sacrifices, through their efforts, to build the world that we enjoy today.

12 thoughts on “Five values I want to teach my son

  1. Thank you for a lovely post. One cannot be too religious. Intolerance is the danger as I see it. Choice of Biblical texts is always interesting. Mark Twain, who was an atheist, sent Lucifer to earth as a punishment for his insolence. In the worst place God could think of sending him, Lucifer wrote back to his buddies in Heaven about the strange ideas humans had about religion. In one place , he describes the Old Testament and the New as inspired by God before and after He got religion. I hope you don’t find this sacrilegious. The text was one that shows that Twain was not entirely right. And I, too, am appalled by the tendency to see the world, and other fellow humans, in any un-nuanced way. Your values are what many would want to pass on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post and great gifts to pass down to your son. These are all things I want for my children as well, they are grown now but I still have mom moments with them, trying to teach them how important all these things you yourself just posted are. Your son has a good father to help guide him in the right direction. You will help the world become better just by what you teach your son. I have two children that know kindness and helping others, so that is two right there and as Mother Teresa said “If you can’t feed 100 people, then feed just one” so the knowledge you feed your child will one day also feed someone else.

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  3. Such great points. I personally resonate with each of those. If I would have children, I would have surely borrowed a leaf from here 🙂
    And we owe all such thoughts to our kids for a better world for tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Your question raises a much bigger issue than I can likely answer here but I will try give a short reply anyway. Yes I believe that God has compassion. Yes, there is brokenness and horrendous suffering in many places here on earth. I certainly don’t believe that God causes this however. I believe that suffering was initially caused when humanity turned their backs on God, and is perpetuated by each one of us in our selfishness. And yet God continues to show compassion by giving us the gift of life. I believe he showed compassion when, in the words of John chapter 1 he “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” And then again when, through Jesus, he made the ultimate sacrifice and died to defeat death and suffering. And again by extending to us the gift of eternal life. My apologies if this sounds preachy, it is not my intention to push my beliefs on you. But personally I do not know of any better examples of compassion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Züfü Livanelli (“Unruhe”): „Was tat eigentlich der Gott so vieler Religionen, während all das geschah, fragte ich mich und hatte die Antwort auch gleich parat. Er ruhte sich wohl aus, denn es musste der siebte Tag sein; in sechs Tagen hatte er die Welt erschaffen, und nun, am siebten Tag, hatte er sich zum Ruhen zurückgezogen. Und darum vermutlich die Schreie nicht gehört.“ Sorry only in german…


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