The Nine Noble Virtues in Heathen Families Part 2
1) Sign them up for a Martial Arts class.
Hel, sign up the whole family. This is the best way I know to teach self discipline, and it is something kids of all ages can really enjoy. I think they like the special outfits, personally.
Most studios have classes for ages 4 or 5 and up. Sometimes, they even have a family class where they encourage parents to come and learn with their kids.
These classes focus on self-defense, so don't worry about your little brutes terrorizing their siblings. And I'm sure we all know there are a lot of benifits to knowing how to defend yourself. Depending on the studio, they meet 1-3 times a week. It offers an opportunity to socialize in a friendly and respectful atmosphere. Your children will also learn to win well and lose well, if they advance to sparing.
The way that this teaches Self-Discipline is through repition. Your kid will see that practicing a move will lead to doing the move well, which leads to advancement. Many people that take a martial art continue to practice throughout their lives.
2) Household Chores
Teaching your child to contribute to the family unit early in life is a very good thing, and household chores that are age appropriate will help them prepare for life as an adult (which ties in heavily with Self-Reliance).
This is one that will not start out as "Self" discipline. It may take a few weeks for them to catch on to the routine and their new responsibilities. The really young kids will probably need a reminder for each task, and maybe even some help.
You can start this with any kid, ages 2 and up. If you have a toddler, have them help you put their toys into the toy box once a day. Slowly increase their personal responsibilities as they age. (If you need help finding some ideas for your kids, just search "chores for age _" online.)
You can set up a chore calender with rewards for completing every task, or loss of privileges if they miss more than 2, whatever works for you. Just remember, kids are not free labor. Let them see you contributing to the household, as well. Emphasize that you are all working together for the betterment of the whole family. If you work full time, then you obviously contribute and understandably will be worn out by the end of the week. Your kids will not understand this. You may need to explain how you contribute or even do a few small tasks just to let them SEE you helping, too.
Taking this approach to your family's chores will hopefully allow them to feel empowered by their responsibilities and not bitter about them. We want to create positive, life-long habits. Not unresolved anger about how life is unfair unless you have people to do the hard work for you.
Truth - The reality of a situation; sincerity; integrity
Truth is ones of those virtues that seems simple, but is actually a little problematic to teach. Humans have pretty solid instincts to avoid "trouble" at all costs. This usually reveals itself when they start talking, and blame the dog for spilling the juice. Or a sibling too young to defend themselves. Do not take your child lying to you as a personal affront to you and your Ancestors. It can be disheartening to catch your little angel in a fib, but this does not make them a bad person or mean they will grow up to be dishonest.
1) Be opportunistic and consistant
How many people got in trouble for something as a child, told a fib about it, and we're then told, "It's going to be worse because you lied to me." This is something I remember from my childhood, and I'm pretty sure it's a common sentiment among parents. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, either.
The problem my mom had was she would say that, but we never saw evidence of it actually being worse. My suggestion for improving this is to have a system in place you use consistently. If you have a 4 year old who lies when they get in trouble, make sure they can see and understand how their punishment is worse because they lied, and that it is the same every time. For example: have a 5 minute timeout for telling the truth when they get asked if they were guilty, and a 10 minute time out for lying.
With children, especially young ones, consistency is key. If you want ideas for age appropriate punishments, there are a lot of articles available and that you can adjust.to suite your family.
2) Role play with your partner (for younger kids)
You and your partner (or friend, a grandparent, etc.) act out a scenario where someone is displeased with something, but the other person tells the truth and apologizes. I will say this over and over, your kids will do what they see you doing more than anything else. This may feel silly, but it will stand out in your child's mind when they are faced with a similar situation. They will always look to what they have seen you do when they are trying to decide their own actions.
Keep this in mind with older kids, too. Role playing will seem really cheesy to your teen, so don't be surprised to see an eye roll if you act out a little scene. But they are watching you all the time, too. They may not see you be honest in your own daily life in a tough situation. So make sure you aren't frequently saying things that imply dishonesty. Saying, "Man, I'm glad that cop didn't see me speeding" is much differently received than, "I had better drive at a safer speed or I will get a ticket." Of course this is innocently said and meant, but the idea of avoiding punishment from authority will be relieved loud and clear.
3) Encourage your child to be themselves
This is looking at the concept of "Truth" as being true to oneself. Start young by offering choices in their clothes when you dress them. Allow them to choose their own hair styles. My daughter prefers to keep her hair very short, while my oldest son likes a Mohawk in the summers. This is a small dose of individual choice and also helps them develop their sense of self.
You can also encourage them to express their true selves in art projects. Sit down with some crayons or finger paints and have some fun! Their's will probably be a mess of colors that could possibly all turn brown. That's fine. Skill develops over time.
These little things will teach them that they are accepted and loved for who they are, not for conforming. As they grow older, this will take different forms. Don't be surprised if there is some questionable music and style as a teen. As an adult, however, they will hopefully be proud of themselves and unafraid to face the world as an individual.
Perseverance - Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
This is another one that takes time to teach. You just have to keep an eye out for the opportunity to talk about it's importance in achieving the desired outcome.
1) Learning a skill/sport/instrument
If you sign your child up for any extra curricular activity, they are probably going to reach a point where they want to give up. This is the perfect time to discuss Perseverance with them, no matter their age. Ask them why they want to quit. Maybe they are frustrated because they can't do a particular task quite right or they could be being teased by the other kids. Talk about it at length, and let them know their feelings matter. Then, ask them why they signed up in the first place. Help them remember that they wanted to learn something, and that takes time and dedication. Ask them about the qualities they enjoyed and why. Make a deal that they will try again for a certian amount of time, and if they want to quit after that you would consider it.
I only have one suggestion for this Virtue. The satisfaction of reaching a goal is the best teacher there is. Our job as parents is to try to help them stick with something they enjoy so that they can feel that for themselves.
Industriousness - working energetically and devotedly; hard-working; diligent; skillful
This is a Virtue you can incorporate with many of the others, so keep that in mind as you are teaching Discipline, Perseverance, or Self-Reliance. It is often just an attitude one has while they are working, but it has been applied to contributing to your people or striving to be the best at your profession.
This is probably something you can expect mainly from your older kids, but always keep the discussion about all of the NNV going. Even if they can't display it yet, they can still become familiar with the meaning.
1) Family Tie Dye Day
This is something we do every summer. It is pretty cheap and very easy to do, you can find
kits at a craft store, Target, Walmart, or online.
We usually make 3 shirts each, a few bandanas, and maybe a few more little things that I don't want to be white anymore.
This does take a little practice to get the color saturation just right, and to not blend the colors too much. If you have very small kids, you can just have them pick their colors and patterns (self expression, ei: Truth).
If it's your first time with tie-dye, watch a how-to video on YouTube as a family before you begin. This illustrates that educating yourself on a task before you start will help you to achieve better results. Your kids will see that "work" can be fun and that applying themselves will improve their own skills. Since they will get to proudly wear their own creations, they will also see that working hard is rewarding.
This is something anyone can do, in any kind of home. It takes time to complete (Perseverance), and is extremely rewarding.
If you live in an apartment or have some other restrictions to your ability to put a garden in the ground, you can have a window garden, a selection of houseplants, an above ground garden with containers, or a patio garden.
Gardening is also therapeutic, so you may very well enjoy this yourself if it's new to you.
You can do this with your kids who are about 3 years and up. You will have to help them remember to water their plants (and keep them from over-watering them, as well), but anyone can put a seed into some soil and add water.
Gardening to get a real harvest is a little different, and requires more skill and knowledge. But all that means is that your child can learn more and more about it as they grow.
I hope a few of these inpired you. Stay tuned for the last 4 NNV's in part 3.
Click the picture to get back to the Modern Heathen Family!
This article is part 2 of 3 about teaching the Nine Noble Virtues to your kids. I'm going to suggest a few ideas for each Virtue, and don't forget to check out part 1 for some ideas on encouraging your children to display these virtues in their daily lives and for ideas on Hospitality.
The NNV continued, in no particular order:
(Self) Discipline - the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Teaching (Self) Discipline is something that will take years. Kids have a hard time with thinking ahead to consider the consequences of their actions, good or bad. So, don't be discouraged or disappointed if you don't notice your lessons taking hold right away. Just discuss it with them and repeat the lesson (where applicable).