Live and Label the Values

 

In my “Intentional Parenting” seminar, I invite parents to reflect on what particular values and practices they want their family to live by. Which values will they choose to be intentional about teaching, about modeling, about living with their children? Do their activities reflect these priorities? Does their family’s schedule reflect these priorities? Then, I encourage parents to LABEL these values often with their children, beginning with the phrase, “In our family…”, which helps to give the child a sense of belonging, family identity and pride that will grow with him and be with him forever.  And as with all learning, REPETITION is key. The more you find and make the opportunities to repeat these phrases, the stronger these neural pathway will be in their brain, and the less likely their brain is to “prune” it away. You and your children will begin to hear these phrases in your mind, and they will guide your actions. One of my favorite examples of this…one busy morning, I had just finished teaching several music classes, and was closing up shop at this particular Kindermusik location in a church, rushing to get home to my own kids, and on with my daily to-do list.  As I was headed to my car, I realized that I’d forgotten to turn off the bathroom light, and my mind told me “In our family, we take care of the earth“, so I rolled my eyes, and went back to flip the switch.

This is the upgraded version, now available for $5 in my “Mommy Store”. The kids LOVE the owls!

Here are some other examples to use during Good Deeds Week   and beyond:

  • “In our family, we help our neighbors.”
  • “In our family, we care for others.”
  • “In our family, we give back.”
  • “In our family, we volunteer!”
  • “In our family, we share with others.”
Another way that I use these phrases is in our “family song”, that we like to sign and sing at the breakfast table, but it works anywhere and everywhere. We chose the 5 values that we feel are most important for peace in our family and peace in the world: listen, help, share, love, and care. As a baby, Ellie would participate by signing even before she could vocalize the words. Feel free to adopt it for your family, or let it inspire you to create your own family song. These 5 values also hang in a prominent place in our kitchen. So simple, to the tune of “Are you Sleeping?”: “In our family, in our family, and in the world, in the world, we will listen, help and share, love and care, love and care.”) Watch the video:

 

Of course, these are good phrases to say to your children and to yourself when you catch yourself not living by these values, but they have an even stronger impact when you use them in a positive way. “I see Ellie giving her friend a hug to cheer him up. In our family, we care for others.”….”Michael James, how kind of you to make cookies for your teacher. In our family, we share with others.” …. “You really spread some joy and smiles by using your gift of music at the nursing home today. In our family, we volunteer.”  Sounds cheesy, right? Get over it. YOU have the privilege and responsibility of shaping this little brain and this little life.

Comments

  1. Melanie says:

    “I see Ellie giving her friend a hug to cheer him up. In our family, we care for others.”….”Michael James, how kind of you to make cookies for your teacher. In our family, we share with others.”

    I love this. I’ve seen you do it, but it’s helpful to know the thought process behind why and how you do it!

Trackbacks

  1. […] me there for some good “face-time”, and it gives us a chance to sing a blessing or our “family song”. Or start the day off by reading a silly story or poem that goes along with the season or their […]

  2. […] in the world is sharing. (Read more about it and the “In Our Family” song in my post, Live and Label the Values.) One of the main reasons that I began this blog is so that I can live out that value in my own […]

  3. […] Live and Label your values: you have to be explicit with children, and repetition is key. From “In our family, we take care of our bodies” to “In our family, we help others“, my goal is that these values are being written on my kids’ hearts and minds for life.  We have a family “song” that labels our main values, and my hope is that this labeling will help my children recognize what truly matters and what doesn’t when they face pressures from the outside. Specific ideas to get you thinking: http://mommymanders.com/2011/08/16/live-and-label-the-values/ […]