We are not born with a set of values and rules for living. We learn them from our parents and adults in our lives. We learn by what they say but mostly by what they do or don’t do. We’ll call these family Values. Family values refers to the set of principles and behaviors under which a family functions. They are
ideas, beliefs and behaviors about what’s important, what’s right and what’s not okay for being in the world. Each family has a different set of values that are meaningful to them.
If you could take a personal inventory, would you find honesty, trustworthiness, courage, responsibility, empathy, loving kindness, friendliness, helpfulness, patience, persistence or would it be the opposite of these things?
Our family values are a reflection of who we are and how we teach the next generation. When we speak and live those values, our children learn to do the same. They learn to express themselves, to solve problems, to learn from their mistakes, and to develop skills that lead to building fulfilling lives.
Teaching our children a lesson or two about respect is one thing, but making sure we are listening to our children is an entirely different subject, and one of paramount importance.
To teach loyalty, we must demonstrate to our children that we are with them through triumph and struggles. To promote curiosity and different ways of learning, we must encourage and provide opportunities for discovery. To develop sociability, we must teach cooperation, listen to their ideas without blaming, shaming or condemning ideas that’s different from ours. To develop resilience, we must allow them to meet challenges, make mistakes, experience failures and garner the wear-with-all to make the necessary repairs. We must hold them accountable for their actions so they can learn to make amends for the mistakes they cast toward others. We forgive them when they wrong us so they can learn to forgive others who wrong them. We struggle to make our best decisions, achieve our goals and solve problems and seek help when don’t have the answers. We do these things so they can learn that so much of life requires reflections and hard work. We help others in need to show our children how to make a difference in the world.
We laugh, we play and have fun and, we have dreams of our own that we are working to realize. Our children need to know that we are human being who have needs of our own and who are growing and imperfect.
What’s A Person To Do?
1. Take an inventory of your personal values. It’s okay to put them in writing.
2. Make every effort to live those values everyday.
3. Respond to others with kindness, empathy and gratitude.
4. Access to discover if your words and behaviors are consistent.
Because children are more likely to do what we do rather than what we tell them to do.
When we put these values into everyday action, we help create a healthy learning environment for our children and our whole family. This allows our children to learn to chart their own course through the life they create for themselves. This way our own stories that abound are therefore in the making.
© Rachell N. Anderson, PSY. D., June 26, 2019