What are your core family values?
This is something I have been thinking about lately. Our values form such a central party of our family identity. I have been so charmed by an array of lovely Family Values or Family Rules posters I have seen on Etsy or Pinterest, and was even tempted to buy one - I thought it would be great to have up in our home. But none of them felt like they perfectly fitted our family and I didn't just want to buy into someone else's. So a few weeks ago, I decided to spur of the moment to simply pop up a sheet of paper on the wall so we could start building our own. Rather than overwhelming the kids (and myself) with a big list all at once, I thought we'd just slowly develop the list step by step.
What would go on the list? I decided to begin with whatever 'values' that I wanted the kids to learn about, focus on or particularly (ahem!) needed a bit of assistance in working on! It would then naturally turned into a bit of a Family Theme around the home for a while too. I also wrote the word on another little poster stuck up on a wall for reference (along with a Bible verse or explanation) while we focused on it. An unexpected side benefit of this was that it helped *me* as well as the kids really focus on that value for a while - we could all highlight it in daily home life and really learn it in a much deeper way. Sometimes doing a small craft, activity and/or role play to explain it a bit more helped it all sink in too. We have only got through three 'values' so far and as we deal with the obvious ones, I may go looking around for more ideas on things to include too - suggestions welcome!!
|This little nook is developing into a bit of a central family planning |
and learning corner!
We started off with 'Helpfulness' - a good intro as the kids are already very helpful and I knew could also understand it easily and of course grow. We all had fun highlighting any acts of helpfulness we saw from each other, and it opened our eyes to how everyone in the family could help each other in big and small ways. We talked about why we help each other and how it feels when someone helps you. It was lovely and the kids really grew in not just their understanding of helpfulness but also in doing it more spontaneously. They became more aware of ways they could help, and even more aware of the help their wonderful parents gave too! ;) I got a few more ideas of small tasks around the home they could do for an increased sense of their very important contribution to our family (side bonus is decreasing the load for me!). Eli would find things on the floor and then as he put it away, say coyly, 'Dat's helpfulness, Mummy!' Haha, yes indeed!
'Respect' was all about treating every member of the household as an individual and as a person worthy of honour. Everyone is precious to God and deserves to be respected! Our theme Bible verse was 'Treat others as you would like them to treat you' from Luke 6.31. Even little Baby Miles can be treated with respect - by not invading his personal space, not squashing him with cuddles or rattling toys in his face too vigorously without warning. (Ummm, can you tell this kid get a lot of loving?!!). Small things like talking to Miles about what is happening to him before picking him up were ways the kids became more aware of showing him respect. The kids learnt a lot about showing respect to each other in their play and interactions. Of course, respect for us as parents as we raise them was a big focus too. This has always been such an important thing to me, that my children will learn how to show (and feel) respect for us as parents - not just in behaviour but also in speech and tone... and most importantly, from their heart where it all flows! It is also our aim as parents to show respect to them too, so we also had stuff to work on! Though we have authority and must set boundaries and train and give consequences and all that, we always aim to do so respectfully, with empathy and gentleness. Yeah, it's a work in progress for ALL of us! ;)
I will write up a separate post about how we learnt about 'Speak Gently' as we did a fun little activity to accompany that one - coming soon(ish)!
|Lily wanted to help colour in the words|
It started on a bit of a whim but now I am so pleased that this little project has turned into something quite intentional and foundational for our family. The kids love to read through the poster and tell visitors about all the values. It's still all pretty flexible still - no fixed or regimented program on how we are doing it as I am just not that organised or strict! So we will introduce a new value when I feel like the previous one has been well understood and worked on, and/or when I get the energy to introduce another element!! It's roughly been every couple of weeks so far, but some I suspect will be needed for much longer! ;) Of course, I should clarify that going through this one time does not mean it's checked off or understood for life or anything! This little project is just another thin layer in the foundation we are working to build - piece by piece instilling the things that God values into the hearts of our children. Not merely to build their characters but to bring them closer to knowing and understanding who God is, too.
I thought I would share this here in case it inspires anyone else to do this in their family! Your values might look different (as every family is!), but whatever they are, I think it's just a nice way to think them through and share and grow in those core ideas together :)