Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Values













The expansion of my immediate family has prompted me to consider our family values. To reflect upon what is important to us. You know, things like dinner table conversation, togetherness and really, really well behaved children (not).

Dave and I were raised in completely different ways on opposite sides of this sunburnt country. His family is disciplined while I come from a gaggle of pleasure seekers. Regardless, both of us are opinionated, driven and maybe a little hot tempered. Okay, okay- i'm hot tempered.

It means our family home is full of conversation, sometimes with raised voices. A busy home with endless projects to keep us occupied, punctuated by cups of hot tea after lunch and icy cold beers in the evenings.

Together, Dave and I make a pretty good team (when we're not screaming at each other whilst trying to brush our teeth). We find a middle ground on most issues and often spur one another on in our individual creative interests.

Slowing, we are building our own family values. Usually unintentionally but as our children grow, we feel the need to pause, regroup and really consider the path we are traveling.

We want our children to be respectful but we also want to encourage boundary pushing and questioning the status quo. We want them to be creative in whatever way they choose. We hope to teach them to be endlessly kind to others and to think of themselves second, only after they've considered those around them. We pray that they will have a healthy respect for this planet and the unknown ferocity of nature.  And mostly, a genuine love for it's Creator.

We hope that we can lead by example. By being kind and respectful to others while standing firm in what we believe is right.

Each day as we guide them, our children become our teachers. They reflect us, sometimes the ugly other times the lovely. They are a refining fire- making us strive to be more whole, for their sake.


Call me crazy, but the longer I do this parenting thing- the more I love it*.


What values would you say are important to your family?



*did I just make you gag a little bit?




26 comments:

  1. Oh wow, you just wrote out our family values, including the raised voices, only more eloquently and humorously than I would have. I am quite pleased to hear you have the same experience and you and Dave have similar dynamics to me and Rick. No. I didn't gag. It made me smile. xxx Fi

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  2. You and Dave sound so similar to me and Rodge.

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    1. well you and rodge sound bloody awesome :)

      xo em

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  3. Beautifully put Em...very similar to our way of thinking about raising our brood.I love how you mention the importance of knowing their Creator... I want my little men to be men-of-God but that can only be done by his grace and our example (more than words) eh. Cool how you want them to be respectful yet ask questions etc...'well-rounded' :) well put and NO you didn't make me gag, I can see your humour in all of this, but seriousness. of course.
    x

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  4. The best thing my parents ever taught me was that you can have kids and stay the same person as you were before. Heck, they're even teaching me that you can be a total ratbag party animal AND a grandparent

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  5. We also often find ourselves stopping to regroup. I think life marches at a pace so fast with a beat so defining that it can be easy to be caught in the current and moving in a direction as a family you do not intend nor want. I think regrouping is healthy and shows you are on the pulse. As is having arguments while brushing your teeth ;) My parents instilled in us a love of travel, to see and experience all the good in the world from all the cultures housed in it.

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  6. I think we are figuring out our family values as we go along. On the odd occasion we stop and talk about what we think is important for Jarvis's future. We never yell while cleaning our teeth, that would make me gag, in fact WE don't yell, only I do. Justin just looks at me silently while I do.
    How can anyone not love parenting the longer you do it? The longer you are a parent the longer you have to know you child and love them even more.

    http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

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  7. I don't think we have ironed out our family values yet. We definitely are both opinionated and strong willed, and I think we have to work very very hard to be certain that respectful part comes through in every debate. I hope my son will see that it's okay to speak your mind, but there is a gracious way to do so (we may need to work a little more on that grace :))

    xox Lilly

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    1. yes, it's the arguing well thats difficult, i agree! It's the 'mm yes, i see what you're saying but i disagree' ahahah

      xo em

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  8. regrouping is a necessity isnt it...gives you that chance to put your hands back on the wheel. Love,respect,kindness,acceptance,charity,resilience with a good dose of spunk thrown in....it served my brothers and I well and I do not doubt my children can thrive under this guidance (with a lot of stumbles along the way!). We are raising a child with a disability which challenges us in ways that no handbook or parenting class can advise on, but our little guy teaches us every day that this parenting gig is not for the faint of heart, in fact it takes all heart and more. And the screaming helps the heart to pump!!
    Allison x

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  9. I think being respectful is an important family value but I also agree on questioning and boundary pushing, not accepting everything you have been told.

    PS: I'm hosting my last giveaway for the year! It's an ecostore store gift pack valued at $100, hope you enter here: http://www.underlockandkeyblog.com/2012/12/ecostore-giveaway.html

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  10. WOw! you relationship with your hubby sounds very similar to mine and my hubby:) We don't drink tea or beer, but we happily replace that with a cheeky piece of chocolate or ginger beer - that the kids can only touch on special occasions!! You have inspired me to write a blog post on this topic...sometime in the near future;)

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  11. well said...food for thought. I think what my values are and what are reflected honestly in the way I parent are two different things depending on how tested I am with other things in life. How do we stay strong despite being so tired and worn down by busy lives?

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  12. Oh I love this post Em! My husband and I have spent a lot of time talking about the values we'd like to impart to our kids and your words have captured (way more elegantly than I could)our thoughts exactly - I think I might just have to print this one out to keep! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Great post, yes, this parenting thing really is a journey, forces us to really look at ourselves doesn't it? Funny thing you realise is that the only way to teach our kids values is to model them ourselves, but that's easier said than done sometimes. Kindness and respect are right up there for us, along with gratefulness and avoiding materialism.

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  14. So well written - so much self understanding - yay for you and Dave
    We strive for respect, a belief in equality, kindness, forming your own views (religion included) and gratefulness.
    We don't get there everyday and sometimes the message is lost in the screaming...but we're trying

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  15. love it, sometime it's like you're in my head :)

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  16. I think as a family if everyone can agree on core values its a huge step in the right direction x go beetleshack!

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  17. Yes, us too, we have our new little one, she has come via the foster care stork, so precious, so blessed, but it seems even harder to give her to our Creator to look after, but I trust and put her in His hands and pray and hope all will be well. xxx haven't commented for a while, I'm locked out of my blog! ha! Rach @ A Squiggly Blog!

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  18. i love parenting! it's so fun... even though it's hard... and exhausting... and insane... and i do things i'd never thought i'd do EVER in my life, lol... like have family values...

    Ryan and I see eye to eye on most things, though I am much more particular and anal about certain things, like how he talks to them if they do something bad, etc.

    it is still early in our family (our oldest is 3) but our values so far: family comes first. then education. creativity is a lifestyle, always to be embraced. technology free fun (no tv shows, no ipad, etc.) is encouraged 90% of the time (actually we don't even have a tv), and the world is like a school, and learning should be integrated into it every day, through hands on or experienced activity. compassion for their environment and the world around us, as well as independence are also starting to become of clear value to our family.

    great post! your family has great values <3

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  19. The funny thing about parenting I think, is that you learn how different you and your partner or other family members (or the rest of the worlds) values are. Some are more closely aligned than you think, and others are so vastly different that it completely throws you. I suddenly find myself gravitating to parents with similar value structures.


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  20. I think the most important family Values are respect towards each other,kindness and Manners and love and spending quality time with each other and one on one time with each child,they are my family values xx Lisa Mckenzie

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  21. Definitely conversations over dinner. I think that is important and I love this time I spend with the family.

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  22. Just trying to stay alive over here. The gypsy life is tough work.

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  23. I've had this discussion with other parents before, for some it is cultivating independence, for us I think it is cultivating kindness, although (and I very much agree with the 'refining fire' comment) I've only just recently realised how short my example falls. After two toddlerhoods and all the giving of oneself that that entails, not to mention starting a business and trekking through another full-on pregnancy with said toddlers, selfishness and just how RIGHT it feels to be selfish, has really dug in for me. Not with the kids, as in no time for them, but because of the giving of time and energy and love to the kids then not having the time or energy or motivation to help other people. Not modeling the selflessness that I'd like to see mirrored in them one day because, when you get to the end of a day of kids,do you really want to sign up for more (giving)? If that makes sense. I know there are certain years that are just crazy. The baby years are crazy. The three-under-five that I'm heading into is going to be crazy. But just lately I'm feeling convicted, and wondering if perhaps only focusing on my family, however right that feels, may in fact be counter-productive to the family values we're hoping to set.

    One thing that we have adopted- the talking around the table- is so beneficial. We ask the girls what their favourite part of the day was and then, after hearing that friends did this, ask what their least favourite part of the day has been. This has been amazing, even now when they're so little keeping that line of communication open has produced some really important discussions and insights and is definitely something we want to keep doing as they get older. Mainly though, my life's work for the last two years and counting seems to be teaching the singular skill of sharing; aiming for any greater values to be ascribed to my children's character seems far too ambitious at this point! :P

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  24. Reading between the lines here, are you expecting??

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em