Our values – the core beliefs that drive behavior – determine our character, our ethics, and our potential. Thus, the most important thing we can do for our children is to stimulate them to develop positive values that will help them become wise, happy, and good. This is no simple matter.
The first step is to achieve greater clarity about what we believe and what we want our children to believe. Often there’s an inconsistency between what we say we value (our stated values) and what we actually value (our operative values).
We also need to recognize the complexity of our value structures. Some values deal with wants and desires, others with beliefs as to what works, and still others with our convictions about what’s morally right. In a person of character, the latter values supersede others.
As my children are getting older, I’ve been thinking about constructing with my wife a Statement of Family Values expressing our beliefs about the nature and relative importance of a dozen basic matters.
If you want to try it, state the beliefs you hope to instill in your children regarding these 12 areas:
We teach our children values with everything we say and do. The trouble is, we’re not always aware of what principles we’re teaching. Taking the time to formulate a Statement of Family Values can provide an unambiguous source of standards your children will never forget.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.