Discover your family values so you can live well, be unified and pass them on to your kids.
I love the statement, “This is us.” Its bold, confident and shows the person has done an internal journey of discovering who they are and what they stand for. I don’t see arrogance as much as inner security. I want that. For me and my wife. And also for our kids.
Who are you? What do you stand for? Why do some things matter more than others to you? Why do your kids constantly compare your decisions to other families? Why did you make that decision? What was the value that was underneath it?
Who are WE though?!
This is such a good question and many couples find themselves unclear and a little muddy around what they actually value. Society is filled with opinions and overloaded with information. And the values that were once passed down from one generation to the next are now questioned quickly and allowed to run through a filter that seems to shift regularly.
As a couple, your individual values need to be aligned or you’ll face some of the greatest challenges and conflict. As parents, it is super important that you are unified in the way you parent your children so they are raised according to the same set of values.
But what are personal values and why are they important? Scott Jeffrey has some excellent tools around discovering your personal values. He says, “Values are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for. They can represent our unique, individual essence. Values guide our behaviour, providing us with a personal code of conduct.”
Your personal values are intrinsic to who you are. They are what your decisions and opinions are based on. They form the background, the foundation of how you see the world and what you think is important.
Recently, in our family, we have found a need to clarify to our kids what we value together. There has been some healthy push-back and a bunch of conversations that lead to better understanding but the process, the journey is super important. Without it, we’d be flailing around all going in different directions. Clarifying to ourselves, each other and then our kids what we value, who we are and where we’re going together sets the family on a course that is clear, helpful and brings security.
How do we discover them? Scott Jeffrey suggests that picking your values from a list isn’t actually that helpful. He says we ‘discover our values’ rather than choose them. I’d agree. But, if you’re stuck for words, here’s his list of 220 which helped me find concepts I was trying to articulate.
The time you dedicate to this will largely depend on how keen (or desperate) you are to get some clarity in this area. If this is really important to you or just a mildly useful activity I think it absolutely helps to be able to articulate your values.
And, just briefly, this will be of huge benefit to your marriage because, as you communicate these with your spouse (or do it together!) you’ll understand each other better, you’ll know each other better and you’ll know yourself and why you believe so strongly about certain things too.
The process in brief:
- Download the handy guide I’ve created here (or see below for images). Print it out and create a little time and space to go through it.
- Page 1 – Write down a few words to describe what you value around the concepts listed. Feel free to grab a blank piece of paper and define your own categories as well.
- Page 2 – You’ll discover similar wording or concepts used across the different areas. Put those words together. Which word stands out in the group or defines the group best?
- Page 3 – Take those main words and write out short, clear statements that best reflect what you value about these areas.
- Take a few days to sit on it and return to it. Adjust anything that doesn’t sit well with you.
- If you want a deeper dive, the full tool from Scott Jeffrey is very helpful.
How did you go? I’d love to hear from you. Message me on Insta or Facebook!