Family values: every family has them. No matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s important to set clear expectations for yourself and your family.
Who are you? What defines your past, present, and future? What do you cherish? How do you treat others? What makes your house a home?
Not every family has the same set of values. And that’s only natural; everyone has different ideas about priorities and personal conduct. But you can align your moral compass by communicating your values to the world, and most importantly, to each other.
When your family chooses a value statement, you are saying, “this is who we are, and this is what we aspire to be.” It speaks to the qualities you deem essential and helps to establish beliefs and behaviors.
So what exactly is a ‘value statement?’ It’s not as specific as saying, “always folds their laundry,” or “gets all A’s on schoolwork.” These statements might be expectations you have for household members, but they aren’t values, per se.
A statement is not so much a rule as it is a guideline. Consider it a mission statement – a family philosophy, if you will. It will help determine how the household should conduct itself, and it should include everyone.
Yes, everyone. As a parent, you are not exempt; you should hold yourself to a higher standard and try to set an example for your kids through your words and deeds.
Admittedly, everyone slips up from time to time. We know that being a mother is one of the hardest jobs out there. But it’s vital to make the effort and show your children that the value statement applies equally to everyone. Fair is fair, after all!
A family isn’t just isn’t one individual. It’s a unit, a collective that is stronger together than it is apart. Every family member should be involved in decision making because every member’s happiness and comfort counts.
Consequentially, everyone in the family should have a say in the value statement. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your three-year-old should choose the statement! However, your kids should be on board with the decision and agree to try and live by it.
First, figure out your needs. Then, decide how you will try to achieve them, both individually and as a collective. The message can be aspirational, but be realistic about how you intend to live by your statement.
Your statement should be able to address questions like:
Every so often, come back to your value system. Check to see how you’re all doing, and if you’re achieving your goals. Take the time to discuss your efforts to maintain those goals and always keep an open mind and an open heart. Then, recalibrate your efforts accordingly.
Lastly, keep your family value statement posted on your fridge, in the entryway, or common shared space. Check in with each other now and then to make sure you are still on the same page and don’t be afraid to alter the family value statement as you evolve.
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