Even when parents don’t see it as a conscious decision, we are always calling the game when it comes to creating a value system for the family.

At the workplace, this is often spelled out as “company policy.”

As parents, we’re in this  mix on a daily basis.

When taking the youngsters shopping at Wal-Mart and you cross the picket line, you’re spelling out your family’s “company policy.”

When the youngsters read the signs the picketers are carrying and then ask us questions, do we straight up answer or do we stall with the over-used phrase, “We’ll talk about that later”?

Whole Foods Market, often referred to as Whole PayCheck Market, raises plenty of questions for the members of my household, knowing I keep a close watch on my food budget.

No picket lines. Instead, there’s a smiling checker ringing up what my daughter calls over-priced purchases


(1) Talk with children using age-appropriate conversation as social issues are encountered.

(2) If crossing picket lines, tell the kids what a picket line is about and your objections to it

(3) Supporting workers and going to shop elsewhere provides a value perspective

(4) Paying more expresses a family value system – why pay more?
                     a) shopping ambience
                     b) customer service
                     c) company’s commitment to social issues
                    d) selective purchases
                    e) treatment of workers


(5) Get Feedback From The Kids

                   a) young ones can draw pictures of what they   encounter
                   b) older ones can google for more info and discuss   what they’ve researched
(6) Hold honest discussions about family values

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. -Nate

    Good thoughts here ~

    Union membership was what created America’s strong Middle Class and it has been seriously eroded by both the gop and apathy on tha part of Middle Class Americans ~ like me , my Son is a Union Worker (SEIU 721) but he’s never been to a meeting nor taken part in any rally etc. .

    He also shops @ wallmart because it’s cheap and only two blocks from his house .

    My concerns and warnings of not paying attention until it’s too late , fall on deaf ears .

    Always keep an eye on the future else it may not be what you expected and thought you were working towards when it arrives and it’s too late to make any changes .


    1. Shirlee Smith

      Hey Nate, As we know, the lessons don’t always catch on until later in life. When it comes to Wal-Mart, I know many adults who claim to be socially responsible but who have no problem with how that store treats the workers. In the case of your son, a penny saved is NOT a penny earned and it may take him some years to understand what his shopping there really means.

  2. Brenda

    I have been doing this with my 7 year-old for several years now. We live in Sacramento where the politics scream out at us whenever we leave our front door. Most recently our homeless population has become hugely noticeable such that our desirable neighborhood has become overrun with folks who sleep on the street, church steps, or any other refuge. It has caused me to have some very real conversations with my son about homelessness, the role of the church, and how we can do our part to help end homelessness almost daily. Taking advantage of these teaching moments is imperative if we are to raise socially aware and conscious children. They follow our model more than they listen to our sermons.

    1. Shirlee Smith

      Brenda, you have brought the issue home. We are surrounded with the matters we should want our children to be concerned about and when we ignore them, our children have no model of which to follow.

  3. Jean Troy

    My youngest Son is a Union Steward, I have watched Him go from apathy to highly charged participant. I think this reform came form My Husband and I always voting always discussing the politics of the day.
    I will not cross a picket line even though I have been in Management most of my career.
    My Father was very active in the union and very aware of its meaning. Sometime it does cost more, but I think of the families who are working more than one job just make ends meet. Their children are missing the interaction with their parents who are to busy trying to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. To me this is a greater cost, than any sarifice I incurr by shoping at a store that pays fair wages.
    Discussion is the main thing with any family the agreement or disagreement teaches our children critical thinking and helps them to develop an opinion about the world around them.

  4. -Nate

    I’d like to add that these important Family discussions should take place every day at the dinner table .

    Allowing your Children to eat in another room or while watching the T.V. , is doing them a very big disservice .


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