Each day, with every new experience, kids learn crucial life lessons that ultimately help them develop values. As parents, we hope to instil these morals that are in the back of our minds, often subconsciously, when we interact with our children.
We think about them when completing simple activities like baking a cake together, making a card for a relative, helping them build a den with their friends or when we just let them play outside. Dirt is Good wanted to explore mums' instinctive understanding of values, so we spoke with 240+ mothers, 20 grandmothers, and 5 great grandmothers in 10 locations around the world to do exactly that.
We called the project Mamma Mia, and some of our most fascinating results are shared below.
What are Values
Values are fundamental to each and every person and help provide us with personal, social and cultural worth; in essence, they shape our identity and help us fina our place in society. Not only do they guide us by signifying what is important, good or useful, but they can also inspire and motivate us. Regardless of social and cultural differences, mums globally see the responsibility of instilling values as their individual role. Whether in Turkey, Brazil or Indonesia, mums everywhere share a certain set of values as a bench mark for guiding their children.
Mother-driven values (non-negotiable)
- The value that we feel duty-bound to instil, such as honesty, respect for others, sharing and giving, self-reliance and accountability and respect for cultural traditions and seniors.
Child and mother-driven values (encouraged)
- Those that we sense we can actively encourage but are personality driven, such as will-power and confidence; or, those that are rewarded and reinforced, such as love and gratitude towards the family, friendliness and relationships.
Child-driven values (secondary values)
- These values are those that we feel our child will develop naturally and submissively but which we can simplify, such as creativity, discovery, curiosity and imagination. When our kids recognise and understand the values that we have tried to instil in them, it is tremendously rewarding and fills us with pride and happiness. Child-driven values such as creativity, imagination, curiosity and discovery are very valuable for the development of our children, but as mums, we place less direct significance on them.
Most of these values are naturally instilled and can be stimulated or expedited through play and outdoor experiences such as climbing trees, rolling down hills or jumping in puddles. Whilst we may be nervous to give our kids the necessary free reign to discover through curiosity, in case they get hurt (or come home dirty), play provides kids with essential experiences that shape and build their character.
Together with other values, it can also improve our own happiness and pride - how rewarded did you feel the last time your child painted a picture just for you? Not only does it demonstrate that they understand love and gratitude and the importance of sharing and giving, but they are simultaneously revealing naturally creative and imaginative tendencies.