What are Family Values and Why are The Important?
Knowing what you want your family to be known for is an important part of creating a thriving family culture. Another critical component is determining your values and living according to them. Much like culture, your values exist and are in operation in your life even if you haven’t taken the time to identify them.
When my husband and I first sat down to write out mission statement one of the first things we discussed was our values and passions. We identified which ones were important to us individually and then came together to decide which ones we would embrace together as a couple and a family. It was the first step to creating a sense of purpose for our lives and the lives of our children.
So, what are values?
If culture is the underlying personality or your organization or family, the essence of how people interact and work, then your values are the why of how you live and what you do.
As a couple, your shared values are a central part of who you are and what you envision your family to be.
Are few common core values are:
- Hard Work
- Artistic Expression
It doesn’t matter what your values are, but that you have identified them applied them to your life. In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins says that “In examining companies who have achieved success both in profitability and culture, what mattered most was knowing exactly what their values are, building them explicitly into the organization, and preserving them over time.”
Why are values important?
Family values are the things that you believe are important in the way you work and live. << Click to Tweet
Your values will drive your behavior. For example, if you say that you value integrity it should show up in every area of your life. You’ll exercise that principle in everything you do, at work, at school, and in your relationships. If you are only faithful and honest when it is easy, then you don’t value integrity. No matter where you are, at work, home, school, in relationships, and on the sports field, these values are present.
Family values matter to children too!
As kids get older and increasingly independent, we won’t always be around to guide them in the choices they make. We can’t possibly prepare them for every scenario they come up against. So a list of do’s and don’t will fall short but an understanding of personal and family values will better equip them. They will be able to reach back to a family principle to make an informed and intelligent choice.
When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life will be good. You have a sense of peace, are more fulfilled, and feel in control. That doesn’t mean that your circumstances are perfect. However, there is an undercurrent of satisfaction and contentment. The reciprocal is also true. When the life you’re living doesn’t align with your personal values, the surrounding culture, fads, and the opinions of others will influence your behavior. Things will feel off.
Also, when you do the work of knowing what you believe, when questioned, you’ll know what you stand for and why.
Why you should identify your values:
Knowing your values and intentionally honoring them in your life will give you a sense of purpose.
In times of stress, crises, or transition you'll know how to respond, you won’t have to think. Your values will automatically guide you.
The better you know yourself and what you believe, the more you will be able to espouse that value. When you consider your values in decision-making, you can be sure to approach decisions with confidence and clarity.
A sense of purpose, rooted in your values, allows you to weather the hard times and navigate struggle.
Check out my post on How to Identify Your Values and Improve Your Life to download the free Core Values Kit that will walk you through the process I mentioned below.
Here are some simple steps you can take to identify the core values that will drive your family culture:
- Pray Together Whether you are doing this exercise alone or with a spouse, the best place to start is prayer. God know us better than we know ourselves because he created us. Ask Him for guidance and to show you what you need to know for this process.
- Answer the following questions individually: When are you most fulfilled and satisfied? When you're having your best day what characteristics are present in you? What are you passionate about?
- For greater perspective, ask others what they think you value. Many times friends and family can see patterns in our life we haven’t noticed. Be open to their responses; they may be both affirming and challenging.
- If you do this with your spouse, combine or condense the recurring themes and complementary ideas. There will be outliers on your list. Decide whether those ideas, personal to you or your spouse, are ones you can support and promote in your family. If so, talk about how they fit into the big picture.
- With the information you have collected, identify the 5 to 7 values that are the most important to you together. A quick search on Google can help you find a list similar to the one I used. Select as many as you’d like. Remember, all of the values listed are good. However, it’s important to identify the ones that are most important to you. If you are having trouble, rate each value on a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the highest. If you have two values that have the same rank, ask yourself, "If I could satisfy only one of these, which one would I choose?"
The list you end up with is your Core Values.
Once you have identified and articulated your values, you and your family will be able to move forward with confidence and become all that God created you to be.
Your personal values may change over time if the season of your family changes or you experience significant personal growth. This is why you should regularly revisit this process periodically, especially if you start to feel unbalanced and can't quite figure out why.
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