“Why should I practice piano?” Yoshi asked himself. He had a choice between practicing his piano or continue reading his comic book.
“I promised I would practice every day,” he reminded himself. “And practice helps me in many ways. I get better at piano so I can play nice music. I become responsible for my own actions, and I make Mom happy.”
He closed his comic book, walked over to the piano, opened his practice book and began to practice.
Later in the day, when Mom came home, he proudly announced that he had practiced his piano. A big smile spread over her face as she said, “Thank you!”
Yoshi (far left) helps organize candy donations during CVA service project.
Earlier in the week at Core Values Academy, Yoshi’s class learned the importance of owning their own choices.
Ownership he learned, means doing things not only because you were told to, but because you understand and agree with the value of the action.
In many areas of his life, Yoshi’s parents ask him to do things like practice piano, study, eat healthy, do chores, pray, and spend time studying about his spiritual values. Without personal ownership, these actions could become routine that Yoshi did only when his parents reminded him. Ownership, allows each action to become a conscious choice that he takes to put his values into action.
- I study so I can gain knowledge that can help God and the world.
- I eat healthy so I can have a strong body to help God, the world and be there for my family.
- I do chores so I can be responsible in my family and myself.
- I pray to invest in my relationships with God, and reflect on what He taught me that day.
- I study about my values so I can know about the values of my family.
He learned that small everyday choices are opportunities to own his values and important preparation for the larger, groundbreaking choices that he will have to make in the future.
That week each student was asked to make a goal through which they could practice owning their choices. Yoshi chose to practice piano.
That week he made his mother happy, made his teacher proud, and owned the value of practice and daily discipline a little more.
Try it at Home:
Make a list of expected actions for your children.
Talk about each one with your child. Explain what values they can put into practice when they work to meet those expectations.
Make a goal with your child to “own” one of those expectations this week.
At the end of the week reflect on what they learned about ownership as well as the values that they put into practice by owning that action.
Talk about hypothetical situations where they will have to own their choice of action. (Ex: Sharing with a sibling, choosing to lie or tell the truth, doing chores or not, etc.)
“Did you brush your teeth?” David’s mother asked him.
David almost said, “Yes,” without thinking. But he stopped himself. He really didn’t brush his teeth. It was habit to give mom the answer he thought she wanted even if it wasn’t true.
“No.” he said, “But I will now.”
Mom smiled and said, “Great.”
David breathed a sigh of relief, he had put another stone in his bridge of trust with mom, and he had practiced his truth telling muscle.
This week in Core Values Academy David learned about the bridge of trust that he had between himself and others.
They learned about the story of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” and how the boy’s lies had broken his trust with the villagers.
But just as lies weaken or break the bridge of trust, truth strengthens the bridge.
The most important bridge, he learned, was the bridge between God and himself and the bridge of trust between himself and his parents. These bridges are there to get love, advice and help. That is why telling the truth is so important, it strengthens these important connections.
But telling the truth is not always easy. Sometimes it seems like lying will be an easy way out. But in the long run, the truth helps find the problem and get help.
That is why it is important to use the truth muscle, even in small things like brushing teeth. When we practice the truth muscle, we have it ready for when we need it when we have to talk about bigger problems and questions with God and our parents.
Try it At Home:
Talk about the difference between truth and lies.
Draw the bridge of truth with your children. Discuss how the bridge is the path for God and parents to connect to the child and give love, guidance and help.
Talk about how truth strengthens the bridge and how lies break the bridge.
Talk about different examples where they could tell the truth or lie. (ex: brushing teeth, breaking something, hurting a sibling, taking something without permission)
Make a goal to choose to tell the truth this week. Use the bridge as a reminder.
The 12-14 year-old Core Values Academy class in Seattle, Washington spent the 2017 academic year exploring their identity and destiny.
In May, the class and their mentors completed an overnight hike to Talapus Lake in Washington. “The purpose of our hike is to reflect and ponder about our God-given destiny as we lay under the stars. Each person has a unique way through which he or she can contribute to God’s work,” said Kenshu Aoki.
The class worked together to prepare for the hike: creating a list of essentials, assigning responsibilities and checking their equipment. They trekked through snow-covered trails, set up camp in the snow banks, built a campfire, and prepared their meals. The clear skies allowed them the opportunity to think about their relationship with God and their role in His work.
Nature is one of the best environments for our spiritual growth. In nature we can discover who we are, challenge our limitations, and reaffirm the purpose and values of our lives.
Why don’t you take a moment in nature to think about your God-given destiny. Share with us what you discover in the comments below.
CVA Principal Maruko Breland thanks volunteers for service to CVA students
The Core Values Academy is a weekly program that provides children age 4-16 a place to reinforce and develop values that they are cultivating in the family.
In ways, Core Values Academy resembles a family – mentors are like elder brothers and sister, and many teachers are parents of students. Every week mentors and teachers are taught valuable lessons on how to put values like “living for the sake of others into practice.”
“Being an older brother or sister is one of the greatest ways to come to understand and resemble God’s Heart,” CVA Principal Maruko Breland said at the opening of a teacher and mentor training program in Seattle, Washington. “God doesn’t just see a person where they’re at now. He’s sees where they came from and where they will get to.”
Teachers and mentors discussed their insights and experience, as volunteer teachers, developed their capacity through presentations on classroom management and professionalism, and wrote out class expectations.
Some mentors reflected on the challenges in the classroom. One mentor said he has learned the importance of embodying the values that they are teaching. Another jokingly said his patience has been stretched to a new capacity.
What lessons have you learned in your family relationships about God?