In yesterday's blog, Choosing Your Family Values for Raising Peaceful Children, I started a discussion about the use of family VALUES in generating peace within a family. Today, this will be Part II of that discussion.
The discussion was centered around the following list of over 21 such VALUES to be considered as candidates for the “core values” you want to focus on in your family. In addition you may come up with others. I invite you to read through the list a couple of times to get a feel for range presented here.
POSSIBLE FAMILY VALUES
HEALTHY LIVING PATIENCE
INNER SILENCE APPRECIATION
After you’ve read through the list of VALUES a couple of times, ponder them and see which ones feel right for your family. Choose four values that are the most important to you. If you have a hard time limiting it to four, you might want to choose as many as eight and work with those to see which seem to be the core four for your family.
As a result of my past work I have found that four seems to be a manageable number. It is a number that children can remember fairly easily and allows you to focus your energy on what is truly important. Perhaps you’d like to include your children in the process of deciding on the values for your family. Children LOVE to be included in the process. I’ve discovered that when they are part of any process such as planning a trip or a family activity, they are much more willing and able to fully participate in the end result. The same is true for of selecting the VALUES which serve foundation for peaceful living.
MAKING YOUR VALUES COME ALIVE:
If you want to involve your children in the process, I suggest you do choose a total of eight potential VALUES and then call a family meeting to discuss them. After talking about what each value means, you might do a bit of role playing to demonstrate what is meant by that VALUE.
Children love to participate in role playing activities. For example if COOPERATION is one of your values, have your children act out how they would be COOPERATIVE in a situation. When children get into this, it can really be a fun experience with great learning! Children three and older could enjoy this part of the planning.
In addition it can be fun to act out the opposite of the value. (Children love this!) For example with COOPERATION, you could explain the opposite as being someone who would be a hindrance or unhelpful to the process. Although you could use UNCOOPERATIVE as the opposite, I suggest you use a different word completely. This helps to further the understanding of the VALUE you are working with. Do make it a word, appropriate to the age of your children, so they can easily understand it. Some children may not fully understand the exact meaning of the VALUES you choose and how to act in accordance with them, so role playing clearly demonstrates what you a talking about. This can be a very powerful experience for the children and very beneficial for all!
If it’s very hard to limit your core values to just four, I suggest you put them into two lists. The four most important ones you call “CORE VALUES” and keep the other four as ones to refer to in further defining or fine-tuning your basic four core values.
In the late 1980’s when I was working at a private school I heard about a “Character Education” Program presented by the Jefferson Institute. I attended the 3 day conference and brought the program back to my school. One of the techniques they used was called, “Catch Them Doing It Right”.
And it was just what it sounds like. When you find your child doing something that aligns with the VALUES you selected, acknowledge them! Tell them how happy it makes you feel to see them acting in this way. Children love your attention. There is a side benefit to this approach. Not only will it instill in them the desire to act in ways that support your family's VALUES, you will find that when they get a sufficient amount of attention with positive feedback, they will not seek it in others ways with inappropriate behavior.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you some ideas about what to do when your children slip and do not live up to your core VALUES. When this happens there are “teaching moments” that are golden! Stay tuned for more!
I’d love to hear from you about your experience in choosing your family values. You may already have them in place. Please write me personally or via the blog.
Sharon Ann Wikoff is the mother of three marvelous adult children. She holds two teaching credentials: General Elementary K-8 and Adult Education: Parent Education/ Child Study and holds a CC-ADV certification in EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Sharon is the author of three eBooks; The Art of Communicating with Infants and very Young Children and the Art of Listening To Children: The 10 Minute Miracle and Daddy, Why Are We Different. She is passionate about inspiring families to raise peaceful children by aligning all that goes on in the home with their "core family values". She works individually with families via the telephone or skype. She can be reached through her website: www.SharonAnnWikoff.com, which also contains her Blog: Raising Peaceful Children, SharonAnnWikoff@gmail.com or at 707 820. 4212