I recently received a press release titled, “Well-Meaning Parents Often Fail to Teach Vital Values, Author Says.” I assumed the author was a self-help guru, but it turns out she pens writes fantasy novels for young adults. Rachel Albert is author of “Quest to Telos,” a young adult novel where fantasy meets reality and even world peace is possible.

In this press release, it talks about how middle-school students at Allison Academy in North Miami Beach were asked what they could do to improve their country, and they focused on what they understood – bullying, violence and racism. Albert says those problems are all rooted in the same issues. “They stem from a lack of personal integrity and absence of social responsibility,” she says. “Children who choose to put those values into practice are actively working toward peace. But they can only put into practice what they’ve learned; instilling those values may seem simple, but many parents miss the mark and actually model the opposite.”

She offers a number of tips to help parents teach their children personal integrity and social responsibility, giving them the keys to world peace. I’m sure you’re now wondering what thre heck this has to do with money, but I’m getting to that, I promise. I included my favourite tips here, with my comments.

Never lie in front of your kids. It may seem obvious, but many parents lie in front of their children or encourage them to lie; misstating a child’s age to save money on movie tickets or allowing them to take credit for school projects completed by the parent. These seemingly inconsequential lies suggest it’s OK, even good, to distort the truth. This causes long-term damage a million times more costly than whatever was gained in the short term.
Being a cheapskate frugal mom, I’ve been tempted to lie about my eldest’s age at the gate to certain attractions. But I’ve never done it, and never will. I don’t want to model this kind of dishonest behaviour. Lying simply because other people do it, or because we can get away with it is not the lesson I want to teach my kids. I value good value, not the lowest possible price.

Give your kids a reason why. Author Mark Twain once said that the two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you figure out why. If you fail to tell your kids why we are here, you have missed the opportunity to figure out what motivates them and gets them excited. This is the most important key to getting kids’ cooperation and empowering them to help the world.

Stop giving your kids so much stuff – give them room to find their reason why. Boredom breeds creativity! Enabling them to explore their emotions, their wants and desires, without having every request granted is a good way to help them find their authentic why.

Model charity. Actions speak louder than any words. When you teach kindness to children, they tend to feel empathy and have more successful lives, a crucial step toward achieving world peace.

I’ve blogged about volunteering, and think it’s so important for even the busiest family to make time in their schedule to give back to the community. Give up a sport, cut out a few tv shows – heck, let the kids miss a class here and there – but get out in your community and open your children’s eyes to how lucky they are and how they can help those less fortunate.