Many adults need to be more concerned about the moral illiteracy and moral decline of children. Children need a solid sense of right and wrong, while developing accountability and responsibility. With a strong sense of morality, children will develop a clearer sense of direction and purpose.
- Interview children ages 8-12 about examples of appropriate and inappropriate, right and wrong, behaviors. Record answers on video or in script.
- Devise a written poll to provide insight into where children get their ideas of right and wrong. What influence-media, stories, or authority figures-has the greatest effect in developing values/morals?
- Poll the same age group, in written form, asking questions about the importance of movies, television, music, and stories in their lives.
- Poll the same age group about how they view the adults in their lives. Results should show who they look up to most, trust most, rely on most, etc. and why.
- Results of polls should be formulated into “findings” ready for display on overhead for group discussion.
- Be sure that all equipment necessary is in working order.
- Prepare paper and pencils for small group discussion.
- This group of adults will most likely ages 25-55; begin the meeting with three songs. The first song will be one familiar to children of the older generation. The second song will be one of familiarity to the middle generation in attendance. The third song will be one that is popular to young people today, and could be sung by the group or played over sound system.
- Divide the adults into groups of six or seven. Have them answer the following questions:
- Who or what were the three most important authority figures in your lives?
- What three songs were popular during your childhood?
- What three television shows were most commonly watched when you were children?
- What rules or expectations were strictly enforced in the home? In school? List three to five.
- After they discuss the previous questions, pose the following to them. They will be used for the group discussion:
- Looking back, do you see your childhood as one of confusion and disorder or one of direction and purpose?
- Which of the following had the greatest impact concerning your previous answer-your homelife, schooling, or society? Provide reasons.
- Is childhood today one of confusion and disorder or one of direction and purpose? Explain.
Ask a spokesperson from each group to share the answers to the second set of questions. Tabulate answers on overhead as they are shared so they will not be forgotten.
Explain the interviews and polls that were conducted earlier:
- Show the video presentation of children’s interpretations of right and wrong behaviors.
- Display poll results on the overhead. Discuss the relevance of each question.
- Allow a brief question and answer period.
Conclude with the following points:
- Moral teaching is vital to positive growth in young children.
- Awareness of childhood influences should be a top priority to adults.
- Reflection is an important part of learning about oneself and others.
- Children need strong role models who can provide direct teaching of right and wrong. They need guidance and direction from those adults they look up to and trust.
Evaluation and Follow-Up
Encourage the group to do the following:
- Conduct further research in moral education and the moral development of children. Familiarize yourself with the various influences that daily impact your children’s developing morality.
- Once aware of the internal and external influences on children (i.e., siblings, friends, media, school programs), make a conscious effort to get more directly involved in these areas.
- Arrange to meet twice a month with someone attending this workshop. Hold each other accountable to do what is necessary to provide guidance in their children’s lives. Share and discuss struggles and triumphs. Encourage each other to keep fighting for what is right.
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