I have noticed a few cartoons advocating certain character qualities, such as sharing, kindness, and forgiveness. Obviously, I prefer these themes to ones which feature playground brawls or catty girl gangs, but I wonder how effective such cartoon storylines are. We all know that children imitate what they see, but is watching “good” themes enough to propel them toward sharing their snacks at storytime, rather than stealing someone else’s, or overlooking some hurtful remark about a birthmark, over responding with a similarly scathing remark? Cartoons and other children’s shows should not abandon their efforts at portraying positive themes, but parents should not abandon their children to learning from the television alone.
A few months ago, one of my daughters was with me at the grocery store. We checked out with all our stuff and pushed the overloaded cart to the car when we realized there was an item on the shelf at the bottom of the cart which I hadn’t paid for. It was not an expensive item. The checker had not noticed it, and I had not intentionally left it off the belt. Nevertheless, I picked it up, walked back in the store, stood in line again, and paid for it. That’s the honest thing to do, and it was a perfect learning experience for my daughter. She saw me do the right thing even when it inconvienced me. Honesty and integrity in action.
A parent has to model the character qualities they want their children to develop and stay involved to oversee its growth. Something as important as character shouldn’t be left to chance.
What do you do to model good character to your children?