Raising Children: Principles vs Values

In a recent discussion about wisdom in life made me articulate a raising method I applied with my son: During childhood, teach them principles, and not values. Let them choose their own values. When they become adults, they can make up their own principles if they wish.

In my case, the principles I enforced on my son were:

1- Make mistakes. But never make the mistake twice.

2- Spend money that you earn. When you earn money, put 20% for retirement. 20% for risky business. Enjoy life with the rest.

3- Never let your brain power go to sleep. That is, don’t get drunk. Don’t use drugs.

4- Never be involved in death situation. Neither yours nor others.

When we focus on principles rather than values, we give our children more independence. We do not transfer our baggage to them. We free them from living our past. We allow them to see life through their own eyes, their own experience and their own strength. We create children who lives their present and focus on their future rather than kids who are bugged by the past of their ancestors.

It has only one draw back: your kids will be independent when you grow old and you might be lonely when you cannot take care of yourself. But parenthood has to choose the wining sacrifice. And seeing your kids progressively happy deserves all prices.