Loyalty is…

How do kids know who they should be loyal to?

This month I’ve been focused on talking to the kids about loyalty.  Kids understand the concept of loyalty, but aren’t necessarily sure when they should or should NOT be loyal to someone.  When I ask them who they should be loyal to they typically respond with “You should be loyal to people who are nice to you.”  If only it were that simple!

I tell students to think about who serves them most, and who does the most for them.  They quickly recognize it’s their parents.  I then explain to them that people who serve us the best are the ones we should show the most loyalty to.  Of course, then I ask them how they should show loyalty toward their parents.  They have to think for a little bit on this one, but they come to the conclusion that they should give service in return… accompanied by a slight look of disappointment when they realize they have to do things for their parents.

Does your child hang out with someone you think has questionable character?

The other part of the equation is helping them understand when they should stop being loyal to someone, especially a friend.  This is a little trickier.  What works best is going through a few scenarios like, “If your friend asks you to lie for them so they don’t get into trouble, should you be loyal to them?”  Because someday they will have a friend who will ask them to lie.  You want them to know the answer ahead of time.

Kids have a real issue with figuring out who to be loyal to.  Don’t make them figure this out on their own.  You may not like the outcome!