I have a young, distant cousin who is an absolute genius. His IQ is stratospheric, but he is lazy and unmotivated to succeed at anything worthwhile. I’ll call him Slugg. Slugg does well in school without much effort, but is being misled by his success in school because it comes too easily. To be successful in life, Slugg will have to understand the need for improvements in his appearance, behavior, and social skills—about which he currently could not care less. He hangs out with others who have few, if any, standards. Intellectually, Slugg outclasses his peers, but when it comes to values, he is no better--and he will suffer for it if he doesn't change.
In another example, I recently read this on www.marcandangel.com.
“Two decades ago, when the bullies at our high school called her a nerd for being a virgin and a straight-A student, my best friend Sara smiled and confidently said, “Thank you. I’m really proud of it.” She honestly was. What those bullies said never bothered her one bit”.
The bullies that teased Sara were using ‘group-think’--believing they were avant-garde and rationalizing why their standards were not up to those of Sara. “Oh, she thinks she is ‘Miss Perfect’”, they might say. No! Girls like Sara don’t think they are perfect, they just have values. Those values guide young people to a better place than those without them. What happened to Sara twenty years ago still happens every day i.e., pressure to be what they don’t want to be. People have been known to pull others down to their standards to be absolved of their weaknesses.
Values protect your children
You can’t teach intellect to a child, but as a dad, or a mom, or an uncle, or grandparent, you can teach values. Values are the protective shield kids need to combat negative influences. Without this armor, they are vulnerable to all kinds of societal viruses. Ask yourself what values you teach to your children and are they sinking in? Sometimes your children are receptive to your values, sometimes they are not. Keep teaching those that are receptive. Keep on drilling those that aren't receptive, and never give in.
When one has values, there is usually someone rooting for them, or willing to give them a break. Whereas I would volunteer to help Sara to meet her goals, I would not have a desire to help my brilliant cousin Slugg. From Sara, I would expect cooperation. Her values and determination are more respected in the world than Slugg’s brain, infected with a lazy attitude. Too bad because his brain, harnessed with values and goals, could be invaluable.
I think part of my cousin’s issues are the fact that he was born to a socially irresponsible mother, and a father who has never had an interest in him. He lives with his grandmother who doesn't have the energy, or instinct for teaching basic values, nor does she have Slugg’s respect. Slugg needs to be pushed because he has no innate drive to succeed. He was never seriously challenged to do better and has no desire to strive for perfection. It’s a foreign concept to him, unless associated with achieving the highest level of a video game.
Appearance over values?
On the other side of the ledger are parents who want their children to be, or appear to be, perfect. Sometimes perfection is so desirable that values are ignored! How they get to the top in sports, academics, cheerleading, etc. is less important than making it. This can affect your children in very serious ways. Some kids will forever feel like failures for not measuring up to your very misplaced standards. Others will attempt to play the charade of perfection by any means necessary, which can require no respect for values. Perfection is a target, not a lifestyle. Having values, on the other hand, is a lifestyle--often a lifestyle that is not emphasized, or very difficult adhere to. It is a lifestyle that needs coaching.
You can protect your children by teaching them values and living those values as an example. Pick some of your favorite values below and be known for them, but don’t expect yourself, or your kids, to be perfect. That’s a value called forgiveness, or acceptance, or family, or love, or tolerance, or.........
Acceptance, Accountability, Altruism, Ambition, Attentiveness, Awareness, Balance, Calmness, Charity, Charm, Commitment, Compassion, Competence, Competitiveness, Composure, Concentration, Confidence, Consciousness, Consistency, Control, Decisiveness, Dependability, Desire, Determination, Discipline, Education, Empathy, Encouragement, Enthusiasm, Ethics, Fairness, Family, Financial independence, Fitness, Flexibility, Focus, Forgiveness, Fortitude, Friendliness, Generosity, Gentleness, Giving, Grace, Gratitude, Happiness, Helpfulness, Honesty, Hopefulness, Hospitality, Humility, Humor, Imagination, Inspiration, Integrity, Joy, Kindness, Knowledge, Leadership, Learning, Love, Loyalty, Maturity, Modesty, Motivation, Open-mindedness, Optimism, Organization, Originality, Patience, Passion, Positive-attitude, Persistence, Poise, Proactivity, Professionalism, Reliability, Resilience, Resourcefulness, Respect, Responsibility, Sacrifice, Self-control, Selflessness, Self-reliance, Self-respect, Sincerity, Strength, Sympathy, Thankfulness, Thoughtfulness, Timeliness, Trustworthiness, Tolerance, Virtue, Volunteering, Welcoming.