Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | February 25, 2010

The Power Of Choice: Does Your Life Reflect Your Moral Compass?

Click on the link at the bottom for a terrific article about helping kids to develop a moral compass. I think the idea of parents teaching children via their actions cannot be overstated. The article is about how the ways in which you spend your time and your money teaches your kids life lessons about what matters. Your kids have front row seats to watch and study and learn from the ways you spend your time and your money. They will do as you do, despite what you say is the right thing to do. Plus, you are given about 18 years to help your children formulate their “moral compass.” After that, they pretty much go off and live the life you taught them to live. I look at my daughters, now all grown and all teachers, and feel a combination of pride and relief in who they are. I’m proud of them and relieved to see they all “got” the lessons we hoped to teach them.

I think that I got it from my parents. They donated time and money to charity, though they didn’t have that much of either to spare. My earliest memories of the karma my parents put out into the universe include this vignette — My parents were about to get new bedroom furniture. That was a huge deal then. They didn’t ever buy anything much so buying furniture was a big move. The question was, what would they do with their used furniture? Of course, my dad said, they’d give it away. He worked in a factory and he knew someone at work could make good use of the bedroom set. He could have sold it but he said that it was wrong to sell something you were going to get rid of anyway (he would never have made it on Ebay!) and, besides, he was uncomfortable taking money from someone he knew. My mother felt the same way. She was a stay at home mom and quite sick but she volunteered for a charitable organization when she could because time was the currency she had to share and she believed in sharing.

I think about this a lot. I do the same in my life — if I’m done with something from my house, furniture, that sort of thing, I give it away. I don’t mean to sound “holier than thou” and I never thought this made me very special but I’ve never sold anything to friends, although I know plenty of people who do. Even now, when we’re clearing out our house, we’ll put usable items on the curb with a “Take Me Free” sign. Sometimes people stop and ask if it’s really free. People are not used to that, I guess. Recently, someone told me a story about how her kid who doesn’t need money sold something to a stranger rather than giving it away. She was proud of her enterprising child. While I understand that, it kind of made me cringe. (Okay, maybe I’m not holier than thou, but I’m holier than her.)

My kids learned from us, I hope. We are far from perfect but in this area, the development of moral compass, we did great. The “amazing daughters” are generous and giving.  (Although once I think Tamra sold her sister boots for $5 but I think she’s more than made up for that in generosity to her ever since.)Recently, all three gave money to earthquake relief in Haiti and I know for sure they really have no money to spare right now. Gotta admit, that felt really good to me and it also spurred us to want to donate more. Truth be told, I think now roles have reversed and my moral compass is being directed by what I learn from my girls.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


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