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Excerpted from Golden Rules: The Ten Ethical Values Parents Need to Teach Their Children by Rabbi Wayne Dosick. Copyright 1995 by Rabbi Wayne Dosick. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"In family, your children will learn, first, how they are to treat people by watching how you treat people."

Rabbi Wayne Dosick, Golden Rules, Part 3

In reality, families -- forged as much in love and experience as in biology -- come in all forms and configurations.

Yet, one thing about families remains unchanging and constant.

In family, children grow and learn how to be the adults they will eventually become by modeling themselves after the adults in their lives.

Watching You

In family, your children will learn, first, how they are to treat people by watching how you treat people.

And their most impressionable lessons will come from how you treat them.

If you dismiss your children because they are "only children," or if you ignore them because "children should be seen but not heard," they will feel overlooked and unimportant. If you regard your children only as "pride-producing machines" -- you know, "the doctor is three years old and the lawyer is two" -- they will measure their worth by what they do, not by who they are.

To treat each and every person they meet with decency and dignity, your children need to be imbued with a strong, solid sense of self. For only a person with self-respect can respect others, and only a person who feels honored can honor another.

So, if you continually demonstrate your love for your children by appreciating and validating them, if you listen to their ideas and acknowledge their feelings, they will -- at the core of their beings -- feel safe and secure, valuable and esteemed, respected and respectable.

Then, they will be able to respect and honor others.

As the poet put it, "What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the grave."

And, in family, by watching how their parents behave and treat others -- as men and women, as husbands and wives, as lovers, as partners, as friends, and as loving beings -- children learn about their own nature.

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