2 minute read


  1. Different centers kids can focus their life on
  2. Formal ways to teach principles
  3. Informal ways to teach kids principles
  4. How important good examples are

principles in action

Different Centers

Sean Covey wrote a book titled Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers. He talked about the different centers that kids (as well as adults) focus on which determine how they view themselves. Here are some examples:

  • Friend Centered
  • Stuff Centered
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend Center
  • School-Centered
  • Parent-Centered
  • Hobby Centered
  • Sports Centered
  • Work-Centered
  • Self Centered
  • Principle Centered

The Boy Scouts of America use a Woodbadge training to help train scout leaders, and as part of that training, they teach that you start off with values, then work on your vision, then to your mission. Families would benefit from this idea as well. Make sure everyone has a good foundation of values before they choose their vision and mission.

Values and principles can be taught formally and informally.

Formal ways to teach

Principles can be taught at family meetings once a week in a formal lesson.

Teach at the level the kids are ready for. Stories are easy for kids to relate to.

The Mitchells get a magazine called The Friend in the mail once a month and it is full of true stories of children around the world living good principles and values.

These stories are great sources for formal principle lessons because the stories are interesting and keep the kids’ attention. They are relatable because the stories often involve children the same age as the children being taught. And since the stories are true, the Mitchell kids see that there are many children trying to make good decisions every day. They are not the only ones. The New Era is a magazine of stories for teenagers and older children.

Use different modalities when teaching children. A variety of visual, verbal and kinesthetic methods will help the kids learn best.

Informal ways to teach

Teaching principles and values can be taught by fitting it into your everyday living, taking any opportunity to point out good examples.

Play games like giving different scenarios and ask the kids what they would do if that happened to them. Talking about these principles before they are actually faced with those situations will help better prepare them for when it does happen. There won’t be the struggle of pressure from peers and indecisiveness. They will have decided what the correct choice will be.

Teach by example

“Don’t worry that children aren’t listening to you. Worry that they are always watching you.”

Share examples of your own life with your children.

“Principles never fail. It takes faith to live by principles, especially when you see people close to you get ahead in life by lying, cheating, indulging, manipulating and serving only themselves. What you don’t see, however, is that breaking principles always catches up to them in the end.” -Sean Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

This week’s photo is titled “Engineering principles in action” by the Oregon Department of Transportation and can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/6942337929

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