How Do We Teach Our Children Family Values?
Our family’s mission statement is mounted in a beautiful frame in our foyer. It’s there to remind us of what we stand for and to tell others what they can expect from our family. My husband and I invested a good bit of time choosing our values and crafting them into a handful of sentences that represented us. It is one of greatest things we’ve done together for our family.
Value words such as excellence, creativity, and generosity guide our family. However, these family values are more than words on a piece of paper and without intentional actions, they can get lost in the day-to-day shuffle and busyness of our lives.
So, how do we teach and instill family values to our children?
First, we transform our value words into specific directives or challenges. When we do, these kinds of behaviors can be taught, coached, measured, and celebrated. As parents, we can build systems or develop incentives around them as well.
For example, when I say to my 10-year-old son, “Please clean your room with excellence”, he may have no idea what excellence means. Even if he does know that word, he may have different expectations or standards. It’s better to say something like, “Son, when I ask you to do clean your room, I would like you to complete it promptly and thoroughly… with excellence.” He can understand that.
Values are meaningless unless we translate them into simple, practical behaviors or steps we can take every day. When we do that, they become:
It can be acted upon.
It can be done over and over again.
Others will notice.
You and others can gauge the success of it in your life.
Nothing gives better examples of values lived out in simple steps like the Berenstain Bears series of stories. Thanks to the all-new The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories we don’t have to purchase individual books to cover the range of values we want to share with our children. This oversize padded storybook contains a collection of classic stories from the Berenstain Bears Living Lights series. Stories include: “The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree”, “The Berenstain Bears’ Faithful Friends”, and “The Berenstain Bears and the Gift of Courage”. After reading these stories our kids will know what it looks like to forgive, be faithful, or have courage. And each story can be read in 5 minutes!
It’s unlikely that our values will change, but how we apply them to life may. So, as life seasons change and our kids get older it’s a great idea to revisit our values practices and re-establish what they mean to us and our families. Over time, as we take consistent steps that point to what is important to us and our families we will create a family culture that represents what we truly value!
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What would you consider your family values? Are you taking steps to live them out practically? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.