IS IT POSSIBLE that one of the unintended, positive consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic is that the teaching of values will move away from schools and back to the family unit? Since the 1960’s when it became more common for both parents to work away from the home our school systems have gradually taken on the role of teaching values and holding our kids accountable. Latch-key kids who’d often come home from school to an empty house until one or both parents were off work, and an increase in the rate of divorce reduced the amount of time kids got with their parent or parents. The percentage of time kids spent with their teachers began to overtake the amount of time they spend with family.
Over the last several months kids and parents have spent a lot of time together. Some of those interactions have been stressful, while others have been positive. But one thing is for sure, kids are getting less time with their teachers, and I wonder if this refocus on the family – for better or for worse – will either strengthen the character of our kids or at least shine a light on the issue of who’s responsible for teaching our kids values.
I agree it takes a village to grow our kids into contributing members of society. But it seems to me, that the village has become too important and the family, less.
Parents and kids can learn core values, skills and mindsets that are particularly called for during this pandemic. Dr. Nicole Vincent is a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. In her article, Teaching Family Values During a Time of Crisis, she lists the following values that families should discuss and model:
- Kindness and helping others,
- Health and self-care,
- Peaceful conflict resolution,
- Curiosity and learning,
- Perseverance and resilience,
- Teamwork (and teambuilding),
- Gratitude and appreciation,
- Love and compassion.
Dr. Vincent suggests we should be generous in showing love and affection to our children; take notice when you are modeling through your action, as this will speak louder than your words; apologize when you make a mistake; and when you see your child showing a value you prioritize, label it and applaud your child’s actions.
It will be interesting to hear what our kids will say when they are adults about how the family unit changed as a result of the pandemic.