Defining Your Family's Values: An Exercise to Start 2019

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Welcoming a new year and a new baby is a perfect time to take a look at the world you are building each day. While a new year often is a time to reflect on new goals or resolutions, why not take the energy you have to plan and put it towards connecting more fully to your partner and your purpose?

It's not a diet.
It's not an exercise plan.

However, it is not any less work.

Have you ever intentionally defined your family's values?

Perhaps you've seen wall decals on Pinterest that proclaim love, kindness, laughter, and joy. They are beautiful! But are they yours?

Family values do get talked about, but it is typically with bias from media outlets or political parties. What we are talking about is personal work you and your partner will do to give your growing family a framework — the beginning of your family's guidebook.

We mean, when you and your partner are deciding what to do with your time, money, and parenting dilemmas, these core beliefs are there to help guide you through making decisions.

For instance, perhaps you find one of your family values is respect. A way your family may try to instill self respect is to start the habit of making your bed everyday, and helping your children learn to make their beds as a part of their daily routine. Having the language about why you are doing things can relieve tension, and give a person purpose when they are feeling overwhelmed or confused. Having a framework in place allows for connection and belonging, and isn’t that one of the main reasons we are here?

Family values may or may not be the same as your personal values, and that is because a family is itself a unique entity.

If you are unsure of where to start, we like this core values tool by Carnegie Mellon University Start here and look at yourself. Then ask your partner to do the same.

Next, work together and do the exercise with your family in mind. Compare with your partner. Work together to find values that unify your future.

Download our worksheet below for defining your family’s values with a list of 230 personal values

  • Download the worksheet below

  • As you read through, underline, circle or highlight any that spark your curiosity or feel correct. Don’t limit yourself!

  • Then make a list of just those.

  • Then go through the list again. Some of the words may be similar so work to pick the word that best describes you and your core.

  • Keep working through until you come to about 5, more or less.