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Teaching Values to Elementary Age Children

Discussion

Help your children see the concepts more clearly and become comfortable thinking about them. Ask them what or who they could be loyal to (country, church, school, employer, friends, family, etc.). Then ask them who should be able to depend on them (parents, teachers, friends, employer, etc.).

The True-and-False Loyalty Discussion

This is a good way to help children see the difference between loyalty and "not ratting." Explain that some children get the idea that loyalty to friends means "not telling on them" or "keeping quiet" or even lying to protect them. This is "false loyalty." Explain that if someone has done something wrong, a truly loyal friend would try to get him to admit it, and if that didn't work, he would tell someone. If neither happens, the friend will probably keep doing wrong and get in more serious trouble.

Stories

These can help children feel and live situations of loyalty and dependability vicariously. Elementary-age children are the easiest age to make up stories for. This month tell them a bedtime story or two (out of your own mind) about dependability or loyalty. Example topics: A spy story -- someone who was a disloyal traitor. A sports story -- maybe a member of a relay team who was tired after his individual event but still ran the relay because he was loyal to his team. A harvest story -- a child who watered his garden consistently and dependably and was rewarded with a good harvest.

Metaphor of Constructing a Building

This can help children understand that "doing one's part" is a key part of loyalty. Ask children to imagine that there were 100 people who wanted to build a brick wall and that the wall would need 10,000 bricks. How many bricks would each person have to put up if they all helped? (100) How many bricks would each person have to put up if only 10 helped? (1,000) Make the point that when people are loyal, everything is more pleasant and more fair.

Dependability and Loyalty Awards

Recognize children who do well at being dependable and loyal. Have Dependability and Loyalty Awards. Pick a Sunday dinner (or whatever time you choose) and ask, "Who had an experience this past week in which they were loyal?" Do the same with dependability. Give liberal encouragement and praise. Also give your own personal examples and enter the competition yourself.

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