I’ve been taught for a long time, if you have no purpose, no values, then how do you have direction in life. Why do you do what you do? Why do you behave the way you do? If we don’t have a barometer guiding us towards the person we aspire to be, then how can we teach our kids to live their lives with purpose. I believe that if children were taught at a young age about personal purpose and values, it would alleviate a lot of doubt and anxiety for them growing up and give them permission to own their lives and the choices they make (with age-appropriate guidance from us of course).
The big obstacle I see here is how can we expect them to live life honouring their own value system if we aren’t strong in our own?
We can’t give our children what we don’t have in ourselves.
Family values are probably something you haven’t thought about implementing in your own home and I’m here to tell you, that’s totally fine. But by the end of this blog, I hope I have given you enough inspiration to consider setting something up at home for yourselves and for your family.
My mum has been my greatest spiritual teacher. I grew up hearing things like, you get back the energy you put out in this world, trust your gut and words like presence, values and purpose were spoken of often. As a 16-year-old girl, it probably didn’t resonate with me as much as she would have liked but now as an adult and with my own family, I find myself drawing on that knowledge and implementing strategies to instil this way of thinking in my children.
You can take values, purpose and mission statements and direct them to so many different areas in your life. Your business most likely already has one, you can write them for your relationship or your own personal development, but what I want to talk to you about today is the impact that implanting ‘family values’ can have on your life and the life of your children.
As a single mum, I don’t have a husband to back me in when it comes to rules and boundaries in the home. I’m sure many of you in committed relationships can feel this at times so this is for you also, but for the sake of this blog I can only speak from personal experience.
I have been following a values system with the kids for the past few years. I have one for myself and we work on our family values together on a weekly basis. After moving into an apartment in Claremont (read about apartment living with children here) I called my dad in tears. I said dad, I feel like the kids have no respect for me at the moment. He said, well Rayne, if there’s no respect in the house then you have big problems. He then advised doing the following. The moment the kids cross the agreed boundaries, raise their voice in anger at each other or disrespect me, they were to be put in their rooms with the freedom to come out when they felt they were ready to join the ‘team’ again. The most important part is that I had to abide by these rules and boundaries also. I had a light bulb moment…. I hadn’t put out family values up on the wall in the new home!
That night at the dinner table we sat as a family and re-did our values together.
What are family values and how do you implement them? Family values are an understanding and a commitment to the ‘us’ we present to the world and the way in which we want out family dynamic to operate. We decide what’s most important to us and we live by that every day.
You can go as deep with this as you like but I decided to keep it really simple so that the kids and I could easily follow and keep up with our commitments. We talked about what kind of person each individual wanted to be. What type of daughter, son, sister and friend they wanted to be, what kind of ‘them’ they wanted to present to the world. Then we collated all the talk and decided what values were most important to live by in our home.
How do we want out home to feel for us?
How do we want our friends to feel when they come over?
What do we think is important to live by to make sure we are getting the best out of ourselves in our home.
The first value we decided was that we would have a safe home. What that means is that in our home we all have permission to take off our masks and be safe. They can be sad, angry, act like a baby, anything. This is the place they can just ‘be’. It also means that anyone entering our space has permission to feel safe too.
To achieve our safe home we came up with our main three values;
We then elaborated a little on what they meant for us and what it would feel like if we achieved them. We also talked about what the consequences were if we didn’t. It’s important to not have punishments for not following values as people change and evolve. However, if there are consequences that pertain to the value, it gives the kids more power over their choices without being fear or punishment.
Our values are up on the wall in plain sight so that we are reminded daily of the peaceful, safe home we are striving towards creating together. It reminds us that if we respect each other and work as a team, we all get to reap the benefits and reach out family goals.
Is it perfect all of the time… hell no! have I put myself in my room to breathe and think for not following our values… multiple times! I’m not immune to making wrong choices and neither are the kids. What’s important to me is that they see me be honest, own up to my misjudgement without making excuses, breathe and commit to working together as a family again.
We know that kids will do as we do, not as we say so it’s important to show them the way. Stand in our integrity, shine the light for them with boundaries and values whilst reminding them that we also need to own our behaviour, we are not perfect but we can do a damn good job trying.
I would love to see your family values! Please take a picture and tag us at @rayne_ella_
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