There’s a little movie that came out about 10 years ago called K-Pax. In it Kevin Spacey plays an Alien disguised as a Human. When he’s asked to define morality he says “Every Living Creature In the Universe Knows the Difference Between Right and Wrong.”
That’s been my mantra for teaching morality to my children. I tell my kids to use their best judgement. And you know what? They nearly always make the right choice. Their instinct tells tham what’s right and wrong. What they still have trouble with is finding the courage to stand up for their beliefs.
That’s when I come in. They need to feel safe at home. They need to know I will always be there for them. To know that I will always stand up for them no mater what. My kids need to believe in themselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I set boundaries. I expect them to learn and practice proper etiquette. Beyond that, I don’t prescribe a code of conduct. The world is too complex and dynamic to codify a precise set of behavioral standards.
Their moral courage is growing. They are learning to stand up for what is right. They are learning to trust themselves. They are learning to once again trust me.
This child-rearing philosophy is where Janet and I had our biggest disagreement. She believed she could control their behavior. I didn’t see it that way.