Yesterday I wrote about the efforts that we are making here to teach children honesty and some good values for their life. It is not that easy and I know that this is the problem of many parents all around the world. The big question is: how do I teach my children values that the society around them does not deem important at all?
You have a certain idea of what is right and how you should live. You yourself believe in love, in compassion, you would like your children to have self-esteem, to treat others right, not to hurt themselves and to take responsibility for their actions. This is why, when they do something wrong, you explain them why you are angry instead of beating them. You tell them not to steal and not to say bad words. Instead you show them to solve conflicts calmly and by understanding the other one and you explain them how your life went, what you learned and which experiences you made. In short, you teach them what is right and what is wrong.
What do you do however if your surrounding teaches your children exactly the opposite? Your children go out of the safety of your home and learn all those things that you never wanted them to hear, say or do. You see what they do, against all that you taught them and of course you will feel sad. Did I do something wrong? What could I have done in another way? Did I lose my connection to my child? And maybe at some point you will even feel that your child thinks whatever you taught and told is nonsense.
Let me tell you, you could not have done anything else. Dealing with teenagers may not be easy but feelings of guilt don’t help anything. You have passed on your values, you have done your best. You cannot do anything else. Every person, also a child or a teenager has his or her own personality and the people who are around this boy or girl have a bigger influence in that time than you. You have coined the first years of this person’s life. Now all that you can do is offer support and keep a connection in between your hearts.
Of course, each case is different and it is different here than it is there. Sometimes it will be necessary to say a strict word and sometimes it is better to simply watch and give soft guidance if possible. The important thing is to stay in love, to remain calm and know that also children will go their own way. You have explained them all that you could and you showed them enough. You can say it again and again but now they will live their life. I believe that at some point, maybe only when they are adult, they will remember the values that you taught them.
This is what we hope for the children of our school, too. I don’t have the ambition of changing the world or making the whole world a better place. I may not be able to change the families of the children whom we teach. I may not even be able to change all of the children of our school. If I can improve only the life of a few children however, I will be happy and satisfied. If some of these children, when they are adult, remember what they learned in our school, not only about numbers and facts, but about their heart, about honesty and love, then I will be happy.