Many organizations run their businesses according to values important to them and to those they serve. So if values are important for businesses, why wouldn’t they also be essential to the most important business in your life: your family?
Families, like businesses, run like well-oiled machines when their members work in agreement with, and adhere to, specific values. Does your family run like a well-oiled machine? If not, here are some ways to establish values in your family and reap the benefits.
Establishing family values
If you want the benefits of family values, you must establish them, maintain them, and continually hold your family accountable for them. In order to do this, have several family meetings to determine 4-5 values on which your family will operate. These may be decided through family tradition (passed down from previous generations) or faith (spiritual/biblical values). You may also choose from a list of values at websites like values.com/teaching-values.
Next, discuss the meaning of each value and how it looks to live by it. For example, if your family picks “respect,” discuss how respect looks when interacting at the dinner table or disagreeing about where to go on family vacation. You can even role-play how each of the values are carried out in various situations, inside and outside the home. Then post the values in your home so all members of your family may be constantly reminded. Finally, hold members of your family accountable for implementing the values. At the dinner table, for instance, ask your children how they showed these values at school. Discuss how they were shown at work. Have monthly family meetings and devote a portion of your meeting to talking about values and how your family operates by them. These steps will allow values to be indoctrinated in your family, so the benefits below may manifest.
Families make collaborative decisions quite often. From “how should we plan for Thanksgiving dinner?” to “where should we go on vacation?” family issues can take a long time to resolve, especially when more family members are involved and those members have diverse opinions. Values can fix that. If a family operates by core values, family decisions can be better negotiated. If a family values “teamwork,” for example, then all members should agree that no one person should be responsible for preparing Thanksgiving dinner. If a family values “adventure,” each member may identify family vacation spots that are exploratory and exciting. Values force individual family members to honor the family above all else, and they also speed the decision-making process.
Adhering to family values causes members of the family to react more appropriately to family conflicts. Conflict is normal, but unhealthy conflict-resolution strategies damage families. Being able to resolve conflicts in a healthy way actually allows family relationships to grow stronger, and this can be done by focusing on values. For example, when a family agrees that they will adhere to the values of “respect” and “compassion,” a parent is less likely to call their children degrading names when upset. Or if a family values “honesty,” children will find it more challenging to lie to their parents when asked about their behavior in school. Adhering to family values gives family members the opportunity to reflect on their family’s values, which can allow for healthier reactions.
A guide for behavior
When your preteen or teenager struggles with fitting in to a certain crowd at school or asserting their independence at home, it helps to be guided by a force other than peer pressure or emotions. This is where values can help. Values offer a powerful tool to guide daily conduct. If your family is committed to “good health,” for example, your child may use this value in order to turn down a cigarette or refuse an opportunity to engage in risky sexual behavior. In the home, your child may adhere to the value of good health when choosing to eat both a slice of supreme pizza and a plate of salad. Therefore, family values can have a positive impact on your children’s behavior without you having to continually redirect it.
As stated before, values work well for businesses and your family business, so try using values to run your home.