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When you think about your family, what is the most important thing?



When you think about your family, what is the most important thing? Is it love? Maybe it’s loyalty? For some families it’s respect, or obedience, or cleanliness. You’ve heard the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness,” right? Whether you realize it or not, you actually have a set of values that all your decision-making is centered around. Our values are formed slowly and methodically over the course of our lives and they come from a variety of different places. And one of the tensions in marriage is aligning the family values of two individuals who become one, and then discovering what to emphasize as you raise kids together. 


As Christians, there is a God-given expectation that the Bible becomes our source for establishing what we value. And when we begin with the idea that the Bible becomes our foundation, we can build up the structure that will guide our family.


Are you interested in compiling a list of your family values? I’ve given you a copy of our set of family values to give you an idea of what a finished product could look like.


Here’s how you can start; print up the list of positive qualities at the bottom of this page or you can do a quick google search and find a different list. Make enough copies for each person to have their own. If you have teenagers in your family, it might be helpful to include them in this process. After everyone has a character qualities sheet you are ready to follow the steps below to create your family values. 


  • Circle values. 

Take some time individually and circle all the characteristics that are of high value to you. These could be things you are currently placing high priority on or traits that you think are important to your family and want to start emphasizing. As you read through the list, try to limit your choices to about 20. 


  • Narrow it down.

Once you have your list of 20 character traits, you need to narrow your list down to 10. You and your spouse should each compile a list of 10 and if you have any teenagers participating, tell them to narrow their list down to approximately 3. Once each person has completed their list, it’s time to begin sharing with one another what you chose as your highest values. 


  • Negotiate. 

As you share your values with one another begin with your areas of agreement if present. From there you can begin to discuss the characteristics that you’d like to emphasize in your family. Your list can include as many values as you like but one of the most important aspects of a set of values is to ensure they can be remembered. If your list is too long it may be cumbersome and difficult to consistently keep in the forefront of your memory and that can make it less likely to make an impact. Try to aim for a completed list of 5-6 values with the understanding that a few more or a little less is not a big deal.


  • Describe each word.

Beneath each word, you should include a short descriptor of what that word means and why it’s a value. You don’t need to be a great writer to create these. In fact, you could just add dictionary definitions or even family phrases that have been passed down through the years. A good way to form this description would be to answer the question, “Why do we want to instill this as a value in our home?” 


  • Attach Scripture.

A Christian household should be centered on the word of God and your values should reflect Biblical attitudes. So, after you’ve identified the value and described it choose a verse/passage that teaches those same principles. You can even commit to memorizing those together as a family. If you are in need of assistance choosing verses that teach a specific value, please reach out to one of our elders. 


  • Display it.

The most important aspect of this step is to be sure it is seen. Hang it on the fridge, put it on the mantel, or find any high-profile area of your home that everyone in the family will see frequently. 


As your family grows and changes over the years, you may find the necessity to adjust what is on your list, but this is a simple exercise to complete and should help you give your family a little more direction. Let us know if you walk through this process with your family and send us a picture of your family values to info@rainbowforest.com or tag us on Facebook!


-Pastor Jeff Kammerer





 

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