“Making decisions aren’t hard when you know what your values are.”
This quote was extremely important to my husband and me as we found out that we were entering parenthood for the first time. We knew there will be a lot of questions, confusion, frustration, and days where we may feel like we are failing our child.
Life is full of hard decisions, but when it comes to parenting the decisions may become even harder when the life of another one hangs in the balance. We know going into parenthood that we will make mistakes and that we will feel like we don’t’ know what we’re doing half the time, but I strongly believe that having clear values for how to raise your child will help guide you throughout the decision process and the crossroads that we will face along the way.
The importance with understanding values whether you are a parent, in a marriage, are a coach, work for a business, or for your everyday life is that it helps make certain decision much easier because you are able to check-in with what’s most important to you and make a decision that best aligns with that. Values guide our behavior in every aspect of our life including home life, work life, and social life.
Values also reflect what is most important to us in life and are our personal guiding principles. Some people believe values are similar to goals, but they are much more than that. Instead of a goal-specific to a situation such as making a varsity team, winning a game, writing a book, or landing a job, values are life-goals that are not specific to any situation but continue to be stable throughout each situation you encounter.
Every single one of us has values that we live our life by, but that doesn’t mean we all are actually aware of them. Take this time to reflect on what decisions and choices you make in your life. What values have been guiding these decisions for you? Once we can identify our values, our behaviors and decisions become that much more clear. The reason I believe that you want to clarify your values when you enter parenthood is because it helps you become aware of how you want to be as a parent, how you will communicate with your children, how you will connect with them, help guide decisions with your parenting style, and assist you in providing how to praise or discipline with your children.
I sat down my husband down after we knew we were expecting and wanted to lay down what values would be most important to us to live by as parents and to teach our kids. There were many that were important to us, but we kept it to 5 in order to keep the simplicity and to be able to remember them.
The 5 values we came up with are:
Our hopes are that if we can use these values to guide us along our path into parenthood that we will be able to raise a child who also upholds these values. I’m 19 weeks along as I write this, so almost halfway until we meet this little peanut! Before this little one arrives I want to live out these values to the best of my ability since one of the best ways a child learns is through the social-learning theory. Monkey see monkey do – right?
If my husband and I can live out these values and provide a living example for how to use these values to guide our decisions, actions, and behaviors, hopefully, our child will observe this themselves and be able to apply it to themselves.
Whether you are an athlete, coach, entrepreneur, or parent yourself – I encourage you to sit down and really consider what’s most important to you. Write these values down and try to keep them simple by keeping your values between 3-6 different ones. Also, consider what it would look like to live these values out in the best way you can.
Identify – Reflect – Act, you’ve got this!