March 1, 2006
Mentors' H.U.G.S. help instill values
Where do good values come from?
Values, observed in our behaviors, were taught to us
by people who cared enough about our development to monitor
how well we lived up to expectations - both theirs and
Values can be constructive or destructive, of course.
Positive behaviors include honesty, openness, charity
and graciousness. They're instilled by mentors who
define, explain, model and coach the young people who
they're guiding toward honor and integrity.
Anti-social leaders also carefully nurture those they
are training. They praise and reward those who become
cunning, manipulative, secretive, selfish and ruthless.
Values, positive or negative, shape a person's future.
What destinies are you creating for those who look
to you for guidance?
Instilling positive values requires socially responsible
individuals who are willing to model constructive values,
not simply communicate them.
When the next generation does not see and feel the sincerity
of those to whom they are looking for leadership, they
are thrown into a vacuum. To fill the emptiness they
often turn to alternative role models - and not always
Gangs and peer groups fill vacuums. Children are vulnerable.
As a professional football coach said, just after his
18-year-old son was found dead of an apparent suicide: "You can't give your children too many hugs." To blunt negative
attractions, define H.U.G.S. like this:
- H for humility: Be honest with those
you love by humbly acknowledging your concerns and
your shortcomings. Communicate the importance of two-way
communication to strengthen family life. Be real.
- U is for understanding: Listen carefully
to the hopes and fears of youth. Their challenges are
different and require the extended support system -
the village - to build a strong and self-confident
human being. Acknowledge differences.
- G is for give: Giving credit is
about respecting the efforts of young people who are
confronted by the daily values barrage being waged
by the media, electronic conveniences and the ever-present
Recognize the difficulties.
- S is for smile:Sharing a supportive smile confirms
relationship and affection, not necessarily approval
Errors are teaching moments, making home the place where
constructive values are built and smiles sustain relationships.
H.U.G.S. trump peer group pressures and destructive intimidation.
Hugs shape destinies.