There is a long-standing belief that morals are tied to religion in some manner or another. However, I believe that it is possible, and truly most people do, teach their kids morals and values, and religion is not a part of it. You do not have to be religious to be a good, moral, and a respectful person. There are many ways to teach morals without religion and there are many, many, respectful, moral people in this world.
Morals are principles of right and wrong. Generally, religion gives people a standard to live by, morals. For instance, in the Christian religion there is the 10 commandments. This gives Christians a guideline, a set of instructions, as does the Bible, on what is right, what is good, and how to live a good, moral life.
Society also gives people the same sort of standards. Laws give people guidelines and those that are considered moral are those considered to be good. They follow the law, they follow the rules and they do not ruffle feathers.
Some most common morals are….
- Tell the Truth
- Have Courage
- No Sex Before Marriage (I don’t agree with this)
- Keep Your Promises
- Treat Others as you Want to be Treated
- Be Forgiving
- Have Integrity
- Have Patience
- Be Loyal
- Be Tolerant
- Serve Mankind
- Be Generous
So how do you teach these to children without the Bible?
Be an Example
One of the best ways for children to learn how to act and how to be is to be an example. If you want children to be forgiving then you need to be forgiving.
Find Teachable Moments
There are always moments that arise where you may have to stop your child, show them what was right or wrong with an action they did or words they said. For instance, telling the truth. How often do we know kids to lie because of fear of punishment? Teach your children it is better to tell the truth then lie. Telling the truth makes you trustworthy.
Read to Them
So many stories, including the Bible of course, have stories with morals to them. You however, do not need the Bible to have moral stories and to teach morals. Fairy Tales have morals, different mythologies from around the world have morals. Children’s pictures often have morals. Read to them and then discuss the moral of the story. What did the characters do? What did they learn? How did it affect them?
Engage Them in Moral Inquiry
Ask them about what they think is right and wrong and why. Discuss with them. Be open to their response and that they may change your mind. Make sure they know it is okay to question.
Know Your Moral Beliefs
Know what you believe is moral. Share those beliefs with your children. Discuss them and why you believe they are moral. Discuss them and let your children question you, answer them as honestly and as completely as possible.
Help your child understand consequences of their actions. This helps them understand what they did that deserved discipline and how their actions can change. Explain and help them understand emotional consequences. For instance, “you hurt your brother when you hit him and that made him sad.” Helping them understand emotions and how their actions made others feel can direct a specific understanding. This also helps teach empathy.
The Golden Rule
One of the best morals and values that has lived on for centuries is the golden rule. “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” Teaching this to your children will help them understand their actions and what consequences. If you do not like being shunned by kids at school, then why would it be okay for you to do it to others. How does it make you feel? How do you think it makes that kid feel? This connection helps children understand through empathy.
Moral children become moral, respectful, citizens in society. Religious backgrounds do help those create a moral code to live by but that does not mean you have to be religious to live a moral life. Morality and what is moral may be defined a little different based on religions, societies, and cultures but generally what is considered living a good life is universal, or should be.