April 7, 2004
values, teach your children well, early
do children learn about integrity? What is the right age
to start teaching young people about values?
learn about love, trust, nurture, care and integrity when
they are held for the very first time. Infants seem to
do better when they're surrounded by love and support,
along with appropriate amounts of healthy food and thoughtfully
structured music (some suggest classical).
In medical circles, a strong case has been made that imprinting
is possible even before birth. If this is true, then the
pregnancy itself can be considered a starting point for
communicating integrity. Regardless of the exact time,
integrity lessons begin early and never stop.
Children learn -- almost everything -- from what they
observe in the behaviors of their role models, those who
help shape the values of the next generation by their
own example. These "value instructors" include
parents and other relatives, neighbors, teachers, spiritual
leaders, authority figures and celebrities. Certainly,
children are learning from the media what society is sanctioning
as tolerable, even if not proper and acceptable, all the
time. If this is not the case, then why would responsible
adults allow such information to flood the airways or
In the late 1960s, Glenn Tubb and Jack Moran wrote a song
called "Skip a Rope," and it reminds us of our
"Oh, listen to the children while they play,
Now ain't it kinda funny what the children say,
Skip a rope.
"Cheat on your taxes, don't be a fool,
"...Now what was that they said about a Golden Rule?
Never mind the rules, just play to win,
And hate your neighbor[s] for the shade of [their] skin.
"...Skip a rope, skip a rope,
Just listen to your children while they play,
It's really not very funny, what the children say,
Skip a rope, skip a rope."
Integrity is being taught all the time. It boils down
to one question: As a role model, are you exhibiting --
all the time --character, honesty, openness, authority,
partnership, performance, charity and graciousness? If
not, why not? Integrity matters, and it begins at birth
and does not end.