As we move into August, many families are taking vacations before the start of school. Summer time is usually a time for more fun and relaxation for both parents and kids out of school.
Some of the best family memories are made during the summer; going on vacation, seeing relatives, camping, or making projects. Kids seem to sprout like weeds during the summer months as their daily activities change. Most of us have family memories to look back on and remember as we become adults. I can remember my Dad declaring one summer day, “We are going on a picnic today and EVERYONE is going to have FUN!” in his loud declarative voice.
What families do and the traditions they have reflect their values. I did not realize until I was much older the values that I got from my family. As I matured, I began to develop my own values and … many of them were my family’s values. Work hard and make a contribution, be generous, continue to learn new things as you grow, be honest and always respect others. These were not just things my parents told me I should do – they were the things that they did too.
We all have our favorite childhood memories to look back on and share with our children.
As parents, we might assume that our day-to-day lives and special memories convey our values clearly to our children. But that isn’t always the case. A colleague of mine has a great way of articulating this, “Children are great observers, but lousy interpreters.”
As a Certified Family Coach, I often hear from parents “Of course my children know our family values.” Then, when give an assignment to ask their children what their family values are, they are surprised at the responses they get. Most simply put, values are chosen guiding principles to be lived in every area of life. Values show up at home, at work, at school, on the playground and when you are alone.
Here’s a great activity for your family before the school-year routines return. Reflect on the last 7 days and write down things that stand out regarding:
- How you distributed your time over those 7 days? Work, recreation, service and supporting others, learning something new, housework, sleeping, exercising, time for TV, etc.
- How much time during the week did you spend in each area?
- What were the things you wanted to do but did not take time to do?
As you identify where and how you spent your time, what values do you connect to those activities?
For example; if I am spending time studying in pursuit of a college degree, I value education. If I volunteer weekly at a homeless shelter or food bank, I might value service or compassion. If I am regularly planning family activities or opportunities to get together with extended family, I might value family.
A fun family activity that you can do is plan a time as a family to talk about what you value most. Have everyone in the family share. Kids might say… fun or sports. Start with sharing what values are in your own words including what it looks like to live each value. Make it a fun activity – take a 3×5 card for each value and place the word on one side and and describe how you live it on the other side. Then decorate the cards. You can put them in a box and pull one each week to focus on “living” and “seeing/experiencing” that value for the week. Values are to be lived and experienced; the ultimate walking the talk!
Enjoy the rest of the summer, sharing family time together, making memories and living your values.
Our best to you,
Barbara and everyone at Source Point Training