Family Values


Parents have a right

to guide, train, and correct their children
in their own chosen family values—
and those values may be far different than their neighbor’s.

  • Values are those things you treasure.  Time-tested values are the teachings which work and will always be true.

  • Family values are at the core of parenting around the world, spanning all faiths and all economic levels and political persuasions.  When it comes to their hopes and dreams for their kids, these parents are remarkably unified and similar.  Family values are not obsolete, but are growing stronger today; and parents are paying more attention to them and trying harder than ever before to teach them. 
  • Values are your personal “Code of Conduct,” by which your decisions, interactions, and life are conducted and made.  They allow you both peace and respect.
  • Our core values have their roots in religion.  Absolute truths can be found in the scriptures—they have been time-tested and have worked for 6,000 years.  Most Christians favor a system which is not flawed.  God is both the authority and author of these values in His plan for our behavior, and He has said what is right and wrong.  Whether you believe that Jesus is the Son of God or not, experiment with the principles He taught, and you will discover that they work—and will bring peace.
Unfortunately, the removal of “religion” from schools today prohibits the teaching of many good values.  Sadly, many parents are not teaching them either.
  • The values which made our nation great were both spiritual and moral - the simple, intuitive understanding of right and wrong.  Those truths which everyone once seemed to know still frame the very substance of everything valuable we possess today.  The US Constitution was written by the Founding Fathers to define those things that really mattered most to them.  What they wrote was the basis for the greatest nation on earth, and has successfully governed our country for over 200 years.  No law in this country is ratified until it is measured against our Constitution for consistency.
What You Can Do

State your Family Values

  • Decide what values are important to you, and what values you want your children to acquire.  If parents don’t teach their values to their children, their children will learn and adopt the values of others.
  • Have each member of your family write down what values matter to them, and at least one sentence why.  (family, church, honesty, God, mutual respect, loyalty, trust, etc.)
  • Write your own Family Constitution by identifying what matters to the members of your family, and which values are not negotiable.  Then, post them on the wall and teach them to your children.  It is not enough to have it in your head.  The written word carries more power than an idea.  Once your personal and family values are on paper, they will have a greater impact on every decision you and your children make.  Parents must teach and live these ethical values every day by their own example.  Family values will give children the strength to resist the negative influences of the world.  Teach them to make sure their behavior matches against their constitution for consistency.  
  • Make a Value List.  Teaching values to children works best if you have a plan.  Make a list of those family values and qualities which are important to you, and which you want to teach in your home so your children learn and develop them.  Consider these for starters:

    Charity and Caring
    Citizenship
    Courage to do what is right  
    Do your best
    Education
    Fairness
    Forgiveness
    Go the extra mile
    Gratitude

    Healthy lifestyle
    Honesty
    Integrity
    Kindness, Gentleness
    Love
    Loyalty to Family
    Manners and Social Skills
    Moral standards
    Obedience


    Patience
    Patriotism
    Respect for others
    Responsibility
    Sacrifice
    Service to others
    Spiritual living             
    Trust
    Work
  • Place the list of your family values in a place where all will see them often.  Then, focus on teaching one value each month.  Look for opportunities to talk to children about that value as they are eating meals, watching TV, talking about what happens at school, etc.  If it is on your mind, then you will get it on theirs.  Find ways to praise family members for living those values.


Teach Values
  • Teach values to your children when they are young, before they turn age 8.  Research shows that children determine their values between age 8-10.  Whatever principles you value at that age will become a habit and drive your behavior—behavior that either brings peace or sorrow.

  • Point out a virtue in someone that they don’t see in themselves. 
  • Teaching values is easier than you think!  Following are a few suggestions:  
Courage  -  Even a small child will learn the value of having the courage to own up to a misdeed or bad behavior.  You can correct the behavior, but praise them for their courage in telling you when you know it was hard for them to do.  Praise them for doing so, and having the courage to do what is right.

Fairness - Teaching your children the Golden Rule, to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is easier than you might think.  Every one has an innate sense of “fair play”.  If they do not want someone to take their candy, or cut in line, then they should not do so either.  (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31)  

Honesty - Dishonesty is seen in the news when prominent people confess to lying for personal gain, or when not-so-prominent people do so for notoriety.  If dishonesty was the behavior of the majority, it wouldn't be news.  Teach your children what George Washington said:  “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

One family told their children they would help them be honest by giving them the minimum consequences for wrong choices, so long as they were completely truthful; however, if they lied, they would receive the maximum consequences.  The minimum consequences for a mistake included discussing the mistake with parents and developing a plan for facing similar choices in the future.  Parents celebrated their honesty with praise, treats, or extra privileges.  The children loved the plan and eagerly agreed to it; and after one year, the children had consistently told the truth.  (Derek E. Lentz, Salt Lake City)   
  • Some of the best advice a parent can give a child is the following eloquent description of true success by Rudyard Kipling. 
If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
                                                 (Rudyard Kipling)
  • "Benjamin Franklin, one of the most influential of the Founding Fathers, determined once that he wanted to be a better person.  He knew that he could do this by replacing bad habits with good habits.  So, at the age of 20 (in 1726), he established for himself a list of 13 virtues that he wanted to have in his life.  He created a system where he could check his progress daily, and continued to practice these character-building traits in some form for the rest of his life.  His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:

  1)   Temperance.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2)   Silence.  Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3)   Order.  Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4)   Resolution.  Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 
  5)   Frugality.  Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6)   Industry.  Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7)   Sincerity.  Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8)   Justice.  Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9)   Moderation.  Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10)   Cleanliness.  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
11)   Tranquility.  Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12)   Chastity.  Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury
        of your own or another's peace or reputation.   
13)   Humility.  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

"Franklin did not try to work on them all at once.  Instead, he would work on one and only one each week, "leaving all others to their ordinary chance."  While Franklin did not live completely by his virtues and by his own admission, he felt short of them many times, he believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to his success and  happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted more pages to this plan than to any other single point.  In his autobiography Franklin wrote, 'I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.'"  (Benjamin Franklin, from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin)


Additional Resources
Read to your family out of books like William Bennett’s The Book of ValuesThe Book of Virtues – for young people (teens), and The Children’s Book of Virtues (for young children).  

Learn from other parents around the world who have shared their ideas on how to teach values to children.  http://ValuesParenting.com 

“The Foundation for a Better Life”
http://values.com 

Values-based Movie Site. 
They carry Dove-approved titles. 
http://www.virchoose.com 

The Scriptures The scriptures are full of stories which teach all values.