Pastor David Bowen encourages families to consider what they value
Pastor David Bowen encourages families to consider what they value.
What a family values and how a family expresses those values is often passed down from generation to generation. Although every family’s list of values may be different, there are some common values that are cross-cultural and have no age or gender restrictions such as social, work, and moral values. Teaching values, modeling values, and appreciating values means to see that others should be acknowledged and respected.
One of the keys to successfully teaching and incorporating a family value system is to limit the list. Make it manageable and not too large. I would suggest no more than seven core values. Another key is listing values that can be achieved by all family members. The goal, especially with children, is to set them up to succeed not to fail. Asking them to hold to a value that they don’t have the ability to achieve can cause more heartache than joy.
Here are some examples:
Learn to appreciate others. By definition a family is a social unit and socially our culture has lost the art of being polite and having old fashion manners. To teach and incorporate values that appreciate others into your family will be something that will be noticed by all simply because it is no longer the norm in social behavior, which is sad. Since when did being rude become more acceptable than being polite?
Learn to encourage others
Ever wonder when coarse language became normal and socially acceptable? It seems anything can now be said anywhere and it’s no longer offensive. Families have a choice. We can let our family flow in that cultural stream or we can go against the stream and speak words of affirmation. Think about it, when was the last time someone encouraged you? On the other hand, when was the last time someone spoke harshly or criticized you? How did the two interactions make you feel? Exactly!
Learn to be a giver not a taker. This value starts with understanding compassion. Compassion can be taught by understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do what you can to help. This could be an act of service or it could be as simple as speaking kind words.
Learn to be part of a team. This value will pay dividends in the work environment, as well as in the social life of each family member. We aren’t created to live our lives in isolation. We have been created to interact within a community. It seems our culture has lost the desire to take responsibility. It’s far too easy and far too common to blame others. Being a part of a team eliminates that type of thinking and behavior. We’re either all in this together or we’re not; it can’t go both ways.
Once you have established values, the next step is to establish boundaries. A boundary, much like a property line, defines who you are and more importantly who you are not. It describes what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When I do weddings I encourage the newlywed couple to write out boundaries. I encourage them to think through and agree on issues such as, what are the boundaries for spending money, for family time, for church, for giving to others.
It’s amazing how much value family values have, as you’ll find out after taking the above steps.