What are your family’s core values? What are the foundation stones, the key principles, the non-negotiables that provide a guiding light to show your family the way ahead when facing the challenging Waves of Life?
Family Values: Navigating the Storms
Having a clear set of Family Values – expressed in favorite sayings, mottos or quotes that everyone in the family is familiar with and able to apply to their lives is vital to strengthening the relationships among family members. Family Values ARE NOT a list of simple (and essential) ‘house rules’ about cleaning your room, doing chores etc. BUT RATHER a powerful set of guiding principles family members can hold each other accountable to when navigating the challenging Waves of Life.
Strong cohesive family relationships are essential for two key reasons, (1) to increase the sense of support we feel in challenging times as well as (2) to maximize our combined sense of joy when we celebrate successes with our loved ones. Having clear family values also enables us all to collectively set goals and pursue common interests.
Family Values: Each Family Is Unique
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to Family Values as each family is unique. However, your Family Values should provide at least: (a) a clear understanding to how you want to behave with each other, (b) your preferred approach to managing risks and opportunities, and (c) your preferred approach to managing stress and maintaining wellbeing.
Our family has developed a set of values that has remained constant over many years and guided us through many challenging Waves of Life. These mottos and sayings have come from a range of places but have now become deeply personal and meaningful to the way we function as a family. You can see them in the photo of the canvas print which hangs on the wall in our kitchen/ living room. I’ll give you a quick tour of each of our Family Values:
1. “Hakuna Matata” – This simple saying which means “Do not worry” comes from the movie “The Lion King” and is also a long standing Swahili catch phrase I heard constantly from the locals whilst climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa. When the kids were really young they could easily understand this saying due to the movie and apply it immediately to whatever they were worried about. Living a life with less ‘worry’ continues to be an important goal for us as a family so it remains a core value.
2. “If I lost it all tomorrow I’d get it back in half the time!” – It’s a bit of a long-winded saying we made up after I saw both the complete trust and vulnerability my children had as they started to interact with others in the community. I remember seeing my 4 year old daughter pay for some presents for her mother and being given the wrong change by the shopkeeper – she was so naïve and vulnerable to the uncaring actions of others. The solution was not to wrap her in cotton wool but rather to teach her to be resilient and sensible in life but not to worry if things went wrong but rather learn and grow from every experience and stay optimistic about the future.
3. “Kindness” – There is no need for a long explanation here! Kindness is always necessary and no one needs to be treated in an unkind way – especially your loved ones.
4. “Say what you mean and mean what you say” – Sarcasm and mixed messages have at times caused conflict in our household. People have also agreed to things and then later complained about it causing frustration among the other family members. This saying helps us to be truthful and honest about our feelings and intentions and be accountable for the commitments we make to each other.
5. “Titanium” – A more recent addition to our Values – the word ‘Titanium” has helped us remain strong and united when enduring difficult circumstances and helps us envisage a protective shield around our family when facing difficult circumstances.
Family Values Under Pressure & Celebrating Success
Our Family, like all families has had to manage numerous ups and downs. We have, at times, had to endure challenges that put relationships under severe strain and had to make a number of difficult decisions, due to circumstances beyond our control, in order to preserve our basic living arrangements.
We have also had our ‘ups’ and had amazing positive experiences together and shared many carefree, kind and beautiful moments together. We have also been able to provide honest clear feedback to each other not only about where we needed to improve but also about our achievements and strengths.
Is it Time to Review & Refresh Your Family Values?
What are your family values? How often does your family stop and reflect on them? How have they helped you navigate the storms of life and how do they turn the ‘good’ times into ‘great’ celebrations?
Get your family together at the next opportunity and take some time out to review and refresh your Family Values so that your family will continue to grow stronger and closer despite the challenging Waves of Life!
Ride the Waves of Life
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