My name is Joel, and I plan on having kids within the next 5 years or so. It's a ways off, but I realized recently I don't know entirely what values I want to pass onto them. The only things I can think of are religion based. Only I'm an Atheist, and there's no way that's going to change. I feel kind of lost, i know I want them to grow up with strong morals, treat people the way you want to be treated, don't beat animals, don't do anything you'd be ashamed of, etc. but I feel like there is no solid ground in that, it's to vague. Any thoughts?
Do *you* have solid ground for it?
If so, what is it?
If not, why impart it?
I think going back and forth between these two questions may get you somewhere -- not in childrearing, but personally. And isn't that the best way to raise children -- to be excellent yourself?
so it sounds like you have a list of right's and wrong's.... so you have to ask yourself why? why are the right's right, and why are the wrong's wrong? figure out your moral foundation first, then you will be able to provide a moral foundation for your kids.
Your children are going to determine what values they want to keep based on what they witness in you and their mother. It doesn't have to be religious, but they will observe you interact with family, friends, and strangers. Then they will base how they are going to behave to those groups accordingly.
In other words, if you don't want your kids kicking dogs, then don't let them see you kicking dogs. If you want them treating others the way they want to be treated, then let them see you doing that.
All the best!
PS: If you ever decide to give the Christian faith a whirl, shoot me a message! I'd like to chat about it.
I have 4 kids. They are all very different. My sole advice would be to bring them up the way you were. It may not work but do your best.
That may not be the best suggestion.
Why do you consider the values you've thought of religous?
I think you need to determine what your core values are and and live those values every day. Kids learn from watching how their parents act and treat others and not so much from what they tell or try to 'teach' the kids.
OK I love this one because I recently have come to the same hurdle. I am a proud Atheist. I recently took an ethics class for grad school and was exposed to a recent question. The way the professor posed this odd but surreal question to the class was, “Is kicking a child in the face wrong because god says so or because the human being knows it’s wrong. If god said it was right would it be the right thing to do?” My answer is it’s wrong because it violates the golden rule. I would not kick a child in the face because I wouldn’t want my child/self to be kicked on the face. The golden rule is essentially a virtue. I would say based on empathy. For me studying virtues has helped me become a better person. When I was twenty-five I bought a copy of Aristotle’s Nicomechian Ethics. This book became my bible. (Go to document for self guidance) One main point in the book is the study of virtue and personal development is a lifelong practice. Specifically that’s what one has to do is practice. Practice exemplifying virtuous deeds and practice eliminating vices from your life. I later built on those things by picking up Ben Franklin’s The Art of Virtue, its also a great book for character development. A good parenting book is Building Moral Intelligence by Broba.
If you want to discuss this going forward let me know.