A recent rash of news stories highlights the positive in societyâs youngest members: âChild Saves Kids from Bus Crash;â âChild Saves His Brother from Possible Abduction;â âChild Saves Family from House Fire.â Â Â
But all too often, the news involving children indicates a dangerous lack of morality: 7- and 8-year-olds stealing cars; a 9-year-oldâs recent shooting of a school classmate; a 12-year-old charged with armed robbery. A particularly bad one nearly 20 years ago shocked sisters Debbie Burns and Patty Cockrell. Two 10-year-old truants abducted a toddler in England, tortured the little boy and beat him to death.
It prompted the women to begin work onÂ Tukie Tales: A New Beginning for a Better TomorrowÂ (www.TukieTales.com), a series of five childrenâs books designed to help parentsÂ build character in children andÂ teach important values.Â
âThere is something especially senseless in reading about small children committing sadistic crimes,â Burns says. âWe wanted to be part of a âpositive pushâ in the right direction.â
The younger the child, the more impressionable they are, she says. We wanted to help busy parents scrambling to make ends meetÂ build character in children andÂ teach them empathy, compassion, environmental awareness and other values.
âI donât think parents are bad,â she says. âBut with all the economic worries, the job losses and home foreclosures, many are focused on working and worrying. Itâs hard to also be thinking, âWhat value will I teach my child today?â â
Burns and Cockrell offer tips to help build character in children:
â˘Â Promote a love for nature:Â Are your kids outdoors much? Parents who are busying shuttling their sons and daughters from one building to another may overlook the benefits of the great outdoors. Wilderness, however, has a therapeutic effect on indoor dwellers. Spending time in nature also helps children learn about their place in the world and the value of all the life that shares space with us.
â˘Â Show the value of teamwork:Â Working together toward a common goal doesnât always come naturally to children â or adults. Many youngsters learn teamwork through sports, which is good but almost always includes a competitive element. Itâs important for children to experience the added benefits of creating, problem-solving and getting chores done as a team. Parents should look for opportunities to point out their childrenâs great teamwork.
â˘Â Make sure they appreciate safety:Â No good parent wants to unnecessarily frighten their children, but carelessness leads to bad habits, injuries and opportunities for others to do them harm. The best medicine for any problem is prevention. Remember: Donât take for granted that your young child knows whatâs safe and whatâs not. Some years ago, someone taught you that stoves can burn your hand â even though you canât remember who or when it was.
â˘Â Build their confidence with at least one skill:Â Remember what itâs like to be 4 years old? Very young children come into this world with no previous experience, which means their brains are hungry for know-how. Knowledge and skills to a child are like water for a thirsty man in the desert.
â˘Â Kindness counts:Â It is one thing to teach kids the old idiom that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar. But children should also know that people who make kindness a habit tend to be happier; there is an inherent joy in helping others.
âI understand parents are busy earning a living to support their children,â Cockrell says. âBut who you raise in the process makes all the difference to the future world.â
About Debbie Burns & Patty Cockrell
Burns and Cockrell are sisters and best friends. They were determined to instill honest and wholesome values in their children after establishing their families. Deeply affected by the bad news of the world, they decided to promote a better experience for children.
The âTukie Talesâ series is written with compassion and love for all of the worldâs children in the hope of making a positive difference.