How to Instill Good Values in Your Child

Ever wonder how to instill good values in your child? Experience shows that most parents and teachers choose from one of three different systems to reach that goal. One of those systems produces children who lack good values. The second instills good values in a routine manner. The third system works, and works well when parents consistently follow it. The secret? Your child will love the flags.

Let’s look together at these systems.

(1) MUZZY SYSTEM: This method of instilling values sees the body of moral values as a huge gray area filled with vagaries, i.e., actions or ideas that are erratic and unpredictable. This system tries to instill good values in your child by using actions or ideas that keep jumping from here to there. You can never really pin them down. You can never really say, “This moral value requires this kind of behavior, and these are the positive and negative consequences of that behavior.”

I saw the muzzy system in action a month ago in our community. Being on friendly terms with the executive vice president of the community management team, we had a friendly discussion about lax enforcement of written regulations governing the community. At the close of the discussion, the executive vice president stated, “There’s always this huge gray area.”

Really? Our discussion centered on legally binding community regulations, yet she found it hard to predict what action, if any, she and her team might take with a non-compliant resident. Once residents discovered this wiggle room, violations increased. If we picture the management’s attempts at lease enforcement as a giant TV screen, we see a “snow” storm of muzzy reception. Their lease enforcement remains erratic, unpredictable, and never in focus.

Know how to instill good values in your child with the muzzy system? Toss the system. You can’t instill good values in your child with a vague gray carpet of ambiguous ideas.

(2) MONOCHROMATIC SYSTEM: A parent or teacher who uses this system to instill good values in children views moral values in a monochromatic scheme of sharp blacks and whites. Unlike the muzzy system, this choice presents clear concepts of right and wrong. These concepts never change. Honesty never jumps from complete adherence to truth one time to permissible little white lies another time. Parents do not present moral values as erratic, unpredictable behaviors that require one action today and another action tomorrow.

Try applying this system to the management team above. What of that “huge gray area” would have to change? The team would have to make it clear to all residents that they view regulations in black and white – not gray. They would have to insist on compliance, stating unchangeable consequences of non-compliance. Finally, they would have to act to make compliance happen.

Over many centuries, parents wanting to instill good values in their children used the monochromatic system with great success. Parents taught clear distinctions between black and white when it came to moral values. They helped children structure their lives around moral values written, quite literally, in stone: The Ten Commandments.

This method of instilling good values in children still works for parents who work diligently to conform their own lives to robust character traits. If you qualify as a parent of strong character, use the monochromatic system to instill good values in your child. Teach them a well-defined, clear honesty rather than a vague, unpredictable honesty. Teach them a self-control that never operates on whim – one that keeps self on the right moral track, regardless.

Learn how to instill good values in your child with the monochromatic system, and they will never be at a loss as to what action they should choose.

(3) VIBRANCY SYSTEM: Decades before we reached 2019 (when I’m writing this article), our society became one of vibrancy with vivid color! From Earth’s creation, humans had lived with color. Sky, water, soil, plants, animals, and human bodies all pulsed with a rainbow of color. Then, emerging technologies made vibrant color available in everything from TV and movies to the clothing on our backs. We raced rapidly from muzzy through monochromatic to vibrancy – but seldom used it to instill good values. Why?

Think about how you and adults you know view values. Maybe you see a block of gray. I speak as a career educator when I say that children do not learn best from gray. Hand them a paper picturing a huge gray square and ask them to describe the good values they see. They can’t. They see nothing but a gray box. Schools don’t use gray to teach math, science, etc.

Maybe you see black and white. Children can and do learn from monochromatic black and white. Write the list of 66 character traits in white on a blackboard, ask the children to describe the good values they see, and they can comply. Schools use black and white to teach math, science, etc. – but not exclusively. They use color, and I want to turn your attention to that.


Good values exist in beautiful, rich colors like the vibrant colors of most nations’ flags. Did you know that the colors used in flags most often symbolize specific good values? What more memorable way could you use to instill good values in your child?

Acquire a flag or flag photo, and see the world through the eyes of your child.

Begin with your own nation’s flag. It likely features red, white, and blue. Twenty-nine (29) nations do use these three colors in flags. Those nations often associate a common symbolism with the red, with the white, and with the blue – and a flag can be your first tool to teach these values to your child.

  • Red, symbolic of a nation’s struggle, stands for courage.
  • White represents purity, peace, and unity.
  • Blue stands for bravery, justice, loyalty, and perseverance.

You can instill those eight good values in your child by use of an actual flag or photo of a flag. Teach the colors one at a time. Teach the specific values of a color one at a time. In other words, you will want to spend 8-11 teaching sessions on the values symbolized by red, white, and blue. You want the child to know how each value says to behave – how to act. Give them examples, and set up opportunities within the home for regular practice.

Connect other flag colors to specific moral values to help your child see with “vibrancy” and remember long the character traits you value.

Use light red or pink hearts to instill love as described in both pictures and words at: Explain that love is not just warm feelings. Real love requires action. Real love does work. Help your child understand and engage in specific love actions on a regular basis.


We could give more hints on how to instill good values in your child, but this article would exceed space limits. Research it yourself – or create your own color symbolism, letting your child draw and color illustrative flags. Post them in the child’s room as “take-away” reminders. Use them for review, but most importantly of all – practice these values consistently as a model for your child to follow.