How to Write a Multi-generational Family Values Statement – Step Three
Our family (my spouse and I, our two sons and their wives) have been working on a values statement for quite some time. I have written about our past steps in:
In this years family meeting, we once again kicked the topic to the curb to work on outside the meeting.
Since my last post on the subject, I took all of the answers everyone supplied to several questions (which I hoped would elicit thoughts on what values we hold dear) and combined them into one statement which ended up being rather long.
It had a section explaining why we are trying to come up with common values; sections listing things we want our future generation family members to be and to have; a section for the values themselves and a final section (to bring things home and make them more real), naming each of our grandchildren and step-grandchildren and what we as a family hope that they will be able to do using our values.
The statement was over 600 words long, coming in at 2 pages.
We decided it was too long. At the meeting we (the working committee) promised to each work on this draft to shorten it up. We let the boys decide how long we had to get the job done (since we are retired and have more time, I didn’t want to impose deadlines that might be unrealistic for them).
Surprisingly, both boys were swift to complete the task. I finished my shortened version today.
Help us out by picking your favorite from our three versions!!!
As a family, we value
- Strong personal character
- Physical, mental, spiritual health
- Sense of humor
- Smart lifestyle choices
- Positive relations with family and others
Strong personal character
There are many components/meanings to having a strong personal character.
Here are some of the many traits we want to encourage.
- Be able to keep progressing towards your goals, accomplish something every day.
- Do not expect others to take care of you, be able to take care of yourself and your family.
- Do not let others impose their agenda on you.
- Take responsibility for your own destiny and actions.
- You make your own future, do not accept what others impose on you.
- Be trustworthy, be honest.
- Healthy Skepticism
- Don’t everything at face value and be skeptical about the underlying motivations of those who want to lead us, advise us or profit from us.
- Skepticism will bring out the best in upstanding people and institutions and will bring out the worst in those that are dishonest and corrupt.
- By asking questions and observing the reactions and responses of those we’re questioning, we’re able to discover who we’re really dealing with and make informed choices with respect to them.
- To question things is to take back control of our lives, because knowledge and understanding bring us power and choice and enable us to act on our own behalf in the best, most informed manner.
- Conscious awareness
- Do not be willfully ignorant, avoid knowledge or be trapped in denial.
- The only way to be in charge of our own existence is to see the truth for what it is. This enables us to access our true feelings, clarify our wants and needs and make fully informed choices.
Physical, mental, spiritual health
- Maintain all aspects of your health, do not let one get out of balance.
- Strive for wisdom, intelligence, ingenuity, knowledge
Sense of humor
- Be able to laugh at—or at least see the humor in—life’s absurdities – including your own.
Smart lifestyle choices
- Plan for the future, but live in the present.
- Be open to experiencing new things and places
- Value simplicity – Avoid unnecessary complexity without sufficient reward
- Never stop learning.
Positive relations with family and others
- Be empathetic and respectful of others and have confidence and respect for yourself
- Stay involved with family
- Avoid negativity; knowingly causing others pain
- Strive to be a leader – taking action when something needs doing so that you are a productive and caring member of society
Whereas we wish our future family members to be:
- healthy, happy, knowledgeable, hardworking, ingenious, humorous and active
and to have:
- knowledge of family, a foundation of resources and an entrepreneurial attitude and aptitude
We now set forth the following shared value messages to help guide our family towards the above:
- Pursue independence and self-sufficiency – so that you can take care of yourself and your family
- Take care of your body, mind and spirit – to maintain your health and remain active
- Be accountable – taking responsibility for your own destiny and your own actions
- Don’t postpone life, plan for the future, but live in the present
Using the values messages above, we hope that all current and future descendants of our family will be able to:
- Become independent, self-supporting adults.
- Make small changes everyday to the world and their own life to effect personal and social change.
- Understand that knowledge can be found – they can seek answers and gain knowledge.
Our family members value the following traits, and pledge to teach these values to their next generations:
Strength of character.
Pursue ethical behavior even when others aren’t and no one is watching. Develop the ability to persist in meeting your goals, persistence is largely responsible for success. Respect yourself, and respect others. Practice empathy. Be accountable for your actions and for making positive changes in your world as a leader and a follower, take the initiative. Don’t mindlessly accept limitations imposed by others. Recognize and tolerate that divergent political, religious and cultural differences exist.
Work hard to acquire the financial, physical and mental resources to be self-sufficient and decide your own fates. Seek knowledge, wisdom and common sense. Utilize tools and technology appropriately, but be able to stand without them. Maintain all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual heath – in balance. Don’t always take everything at face value and be skeptical about the underlying motivations of those who want to lead us, advise us or profit from us.
Love of life.
Laugh – at life and yourself. Plan for the future but live in the present. Be open to new experiences and places. Keep things simple when possible. Keep learning. Life is a journey, make it fun.
Understand and preserve your families histories to know what makes us unique as a family. Maintain beneficial relationships with family members and build/use a foundation of resources (a base set of examples, assets, knowledge, contacts, etc) together. Become a family which marches through generations with intention.
Please vote for one version only, in the comments below.