This month at my church is Milestone Month. As part of this family ministry focus, Liz and I get to lead a class with new parents. In this class we discuss a list of topics ranging from “Remember Forevers” to basic household boundaries. We will also spend a portion of this class helping families develop a list of Family Core Values.
You see, in my previous organization, we had a list of 3 core values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. As Marine leaders, we consistently led numerous discussions on how these values were lived out and demonstrated by individual Marines and collectively as a warfighting organization. More importantly, we were expected to model them on a daily basis.
Realizing the importance of core values in my “job” solidified the need for my family to define our own set of values. A few years ago, after much prayer and discussion, we came up with five.
Our Core Values are:
Prayer with Expectation
Truth with Compassion
Scripture with Application
Generosity without Reciprocation
Leadership with Humility
(*I’ll save future blog posts to describe each one and why they are important to us*)
The purpose behind defining your family core values is not to have something nice to put in a frame or hang on the fridge, but a clear list of values that drive your decision making and provide focus for how you “do life.” To paraphrase author and leadership consultant Will Mancini, core values are the shared convictions that guide our actions and reveal our strengths. Simply put, they should be a constant reminder of what is important to your family.
When you don’t know or you haven’t clearly defined your values, you end up drifting along in life. Instead of basing your decisions on an internal compass, you make choices based on circumstances and social pressures. Conversely, when your family’s core values are clearly defined the benefits are numerous:
- Provides a framework to make individual and family decisions
- Helps ensure unity
- Makes life simpler because it frees you to say “no” to certain things and “yes” to better things
- Most of all: core values allow you to do more of what you do best!
Your family already has a certain set of core values….maybe you just haven’t clearly defined them yet. They are underneath the surface of your daily activities. Your role as a leader in your home is to pull them above of the waterline. The more your family knows about itself, the better it’s able to deal with life. Trust me… there’s something about actually writing down your values that makes you more committed to living them out!