Values Clarify Your Standards

family Oct 01, 2023
Values Clarify Your Standards

“For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.”

– Genesis 18:19


 

Introduction

The basic beliefs and standards that are of high importance to your family are what we call, “core values.” They are the things that drive you to action and point you in a specific direction. In our family, we have five of these core values that we review regularly with our kids. They are:

  1. We are Christians – We learn about God and share him with others.
  2. We are Generous Givers – We share our gifts with others.
  3. We are Hardworking – We work hard and never quit.
  4. We are Kind-hearted – We are friendly, generous, and considerate of one another.
  5. We are Adventurers – We have fun experiences together as a family.

At our weekly family meeting, we talk about how we have been living out our family values as a unit, and also as individual members. For example, we make a weekly habit of attending church and a daily habit of doing Bible study during homeschool. This is because we are Christians. If we’ve taken a family trip recently, we have practiced being Adventurers. And if one of the kids has taken time out to help someone this week, they have shown the quality of being Kind-hearted. We are able to recognize efforts and encourage each other when we do this, which unites our family. It is especially sweet to watch our kids cheer each other on to live out our family values. This also creates a collaborative environment, rather than a competitive one.

 

Building a Family Culture

Taking the effort to sit down and talk about family values shows all members the importance of this practice and helps them share common goals. It can also stimulate discussions around your family standards and beliefs, giving everyone ownership. When you talk more about your values throughout the day and recognize family members when they’re living them out, this helps build your unique family culture. Oftentimes, stories related to your values are the ones that become favorites. One of ours is what we’ve come to affectionately call “Runza Day.” (Click here for our story!)

 

Recognition and Reward

Making sure to recognize when members live out your values will reinforce their importance and build character. We do our best to give our kids verbal recognition whenever we see this, and sometimes we even give them a reward, like a trip to grab ice cream. We also use a Star System in our family. For doing chores or living out family values, the kids are rewarded with little poker chips that they can collect and use for screen time, watching movies, special activities, or exchange for physical money. Our attention to their achievements and cooperation acts as a great motivator to continue living out our values cheerfully.

 

A Future Investment

The values you choose for your family and reinforce through words and actions are likely to have an impact on future generations. This is because your kids will likely select similar values for their own families. It’s humbling to think of the ripple effect through generations that your own family could have! 

 

Conclusion

Creating values for your family gives all members a clearer identity of who they are and what they stand for. Regularly reading and reviewing them together helps to constantly remind you of what’s important to your family. For us, international volunteer trips have reinforced our values of being Adventurers and Generous Givers. We love to remember building a stove in Peru, helping children learn English in Guatemala, and going on a safari and helping build mud houses in Kenya. Photo books from those trips keep us focused on the idea that our values are a part of our family culture and how we were able to live them out on these special experiences.

 

Key Points

  • Shared values give your family a unique identity.
  • Discussing and living out your family values will make them part of your family’s culture.
  • Taking the time to develop and apply core values to your family life can influence future generations.

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