Friday, January 28, 2011

Core Values

Recently, I was praying for a friend who is having a frustrating time at mealtime with her young child. As I was praying, God reminded me of a speaker I heard a few years ago at a MOPS Convention.

This man talked about creating a list of family values. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his name, but the information has stuck with me. Basically, the premise of his talk was the he worked with men/women who could effectively run Fortune 500 companies but were unable to manage their own families. Obviously, these CEO's are very gifted, yet they struggled at home.

This man created a way to maintain a thriving home environment. His model is more detailed than this, but this was my takeaway (I will do my best to explain what he so eloquently taught):

As a couple, you and your spouse brainstorm 5-6 very specific values you want to instill in your children. The way to figure these out is to think of the "hills you're willing to die on", so to speak....what values really bother you when someone does not uphold and what you are probably already teaching your children. These are also things you probably found attractive in your spouse. Write these down.

As an example, these are the core values that Brett and I came up with:
1. Passionately following Jesus and teaching our kids to do the same
2. Kindness/Encouragement
3. Laughter
4. Respect
5. Generosity
6. Family Togetherness

While there are many, many more values we view as vital to teach our kids, these are the ones that we will do at all cost.

To get your juices flowing, here are other ideas of potential values (not that I agree with all of them, but that is the beauty of this, as you'll see):
- loyalty
- education
- hospitality
- helping the poor
- organic eating
- physical fitness
- hard work
- sports
- faith
- love
- truth
- fashion
- manners
- money
- successful career
- invention
- joy
- family

There are many, many more.

Once you have identified the 5-6 values that are of utmost importance to you, you, then, have freedom to make life decisions based on those.

For instance, family togetherness is something we place high value on. In deciding on schooling for Caleb, the fact I want to be involved in a significant portion of his day weighed heavily on our decision to homeschool.
If our value was education (which is perfectly legitimate), we may have found a way to enroll him into a prestigious private school.

Knowing what we value, as a family, gives me the freedom to make decisions that are best for us and fit within our core value system.
It also gives me the freedom to say "no" to that which does not align with what we view as absolutely vital.

It is all about give and take. Give your time, energy, money, talents to that which matters most to you. And do not waste your precious time on that which you do not value.

Understanding this core value system gives you the freedom to be who you are and allows others to be who they are.
An example (I am all about practicality):
I will just publicly admit I do not like to read. I do not enjoy reading to my kids. I have lived in Florida for 7 months and do not have a library card. Gasp!
I have friends who read 20-30 books a day to their children. I used to feel guilty about this, until I heard this guy speak. While I do read to my kids and will (obviously) teach them to read, I understand that I value different things. I do not read to my kids every night before bed, but I do tuck them in for 20-30 minutes and talk with them, snuggle them, encourage them, and pray with them. A love for reading is not something that matters to me, yet encouraging my kids each night does.

I love core values because everyone's are so different. I love how God made us all unique. Understanding that each of us finds different things vital to pass on to our children creates a judgement-free atmosphere. Rather than criticize parents for the choices they make, I can see they value something differently, yet still equally as important, as me.

When faced with tough decisions, you can take a look at your value system and decide if it aligns with your family. If so, you can find a way to do it. If not, you can say no without regret or doubt if you made the wrong decision.

I am not sure if I did a good job of explaining this, but it is so crucial in creating a home environment where everyone thrives. Please ask if you have any questions!!

Your turn: after thinking about this, what do you value most??

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! I love your blog, you are just full of insight! I find this so freeing to not feel guilty about the way we do things, that we are making choices based on our values!

    I think definitely the things that are important to us are:
    1. Loving Jesus
    2. Being Generous
    3. Education (a love for reading is important to us)
    4. Community
    5. Safety: that our home is a safe place in this not so safe world

    I k


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