Kristina Beers: Learning virtue and integrity begins at home

By Kristina Beers

Special to the Pioneer

Our Christmas was fairly quietly here at the Beers household in that the boys didn’t receive an over abundance of “things.” They have much, if not all, of what they need materialistically speaking and what they don’t, well, they chip away at the list as do we our own lengthy one; some items surge to the top like when our pipes froze in the laundry room last week and some stay perpetually on it like the missing piece of drywall that furniture strategically hides.

It’s quite difficult to purchase presents for adult children, especially for a family such as ours: practical (but not practically perfect in every way like Julie Andrews would say). Beers Boy No. 4 has a girlfriend who became quite frustrated when she inquired what he would like for Christmas with only one caveat: He couldn’t list anything he needed, only what he wanted. His list was blank.

The things I wish most for my children are those that are intangible: virtues, morals and faith. All three, in fact, can meld into one, yet are also distinct pieces of a whole. All one has to do is turn on any media form to see the lack of all three within political, financial and spiritual leaders. Scandal after scandal causes people to shake their head and wonder what’s wrong with the world … well, frankly, it’s a lack of virtues, morals and faith.

Those who practice all or some of all three, however badly, enjoy various levels of protection from the ills of society now being exposed in so many from Hollywood to D.C. I pray that my children should be able to rest in the same protection. Morality stories such as fairy tales of old, Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson style, begin the process during bedtime read-alouds. Dragging little butts to weekly services over and over to impress that life is not all about me, myself and I, eroding away natural selfishness is a difficult but imperative part of the process. Surrounding each family with other like-minded families helps to round it all out, providing examples for the kids and support for mom and dad.

Over the break while my children were all home, I caught myself poking elbows at the dinner table as I did during days of old. I pointedly gave the “Mom Stare” to those who picked up a fork before everyone was sitting at the table to say grace. They have gotten a little soft with manners away from home and living on university campuses, but they immediately recalled what we expect within these four walls.

I’ve never understood those who mock traditional values and morals. Our current culture is missing a great deal of self-discipline, responsibility, courage, loyalty, faith and honesty. Foundational development begins at home with the support of friends, teachers and elders. We have all the tools to help form children to live a virtuous life. I don’t know what outcome those who shunned tradition expected a few generations ago, but if the news tells me anything, it is that the fruit from that planting was rotten.

I will continue to poke elbows, purchase suits and remind my boys of proper behavior with a lady present. I will plant my feet outside a door and expect it to be opened for me and I will carry on conversations about life, faith and challenges. That is, I will do my part as a mother for the good of future society. If we all do this together, we can expect this societal scandalous behavior to be things of history books rather than the normal news of the day.

Kristina Beers lives in the Remus area with her husband and five sons. She shares her thoughts on parenting teenagers and young adults on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

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