Values Make Your Life More Valuable!
Over the years I’ve wondered why people fail themselves to the extent that they end up in prison or dead. I know that many times it’s not their own fault and accidents happen or innocent people end up in jail. But what about the people that know better, but do bad things? What’s their excuse? Why don’t people make better choices?
I think that as with most things in life, it all starts at home. Home life might be the biggest obstacle most children will face in terms of acquiring values.
“If Only People Would Realize That Moral Principles Are Like Measles… They Have To Be Caught. And Only The People Who’ve Got Them Can Pass On The Contagion.”
~ Aldous Huxley (Novelist, 26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) ~
Huxley’s words still ring true today and parents who don’t live by good values, don’t have anything to pass on to their children.
You can’t teach your child to love and care for people, if you scream and shout at your spouse as if they were rubbish.
You can’t teach your child not to steal, if you brag about the lady at the grocery store giving you extra change by mistake.
You can’t teach your child not to lie, if you tell them to answer the phone and say you’re not there.
You see, values are caught by children, when their parents live by them. When parents don’t live with good values, their bad behavior is also caught by their children. Fortunately, we don’t always remain children and as adults we can choose to improve our lives by choosing to live with better values.
Values are an issue of the heart. That’s why many companies with great values have employees who don’t live by those values. To them it’s just a list of rules that can be broken when the opportunity presents itself. The company’s values is not in their hearts and it will not determine their behavior. When values are in your heart, it literally determines your behavior – whether or not you receive a list of rules or values from your company.
But there is a secret to actually living by values. The secret is that you have to decide what you are going to do, before your values are tested. Many people make one mistake of stealing, not because they normally steal or break into houses, but because they had the opportunity and didn’t think that they would get caught. If you make the decision to not steal ever, no opportunity to take anything that doesn’t belong to you, will ever look like an opportunity to you. Your value to not steal, will control your life, even when no one is watching. But if you don’t decide on strong values beforehand, opportunities will be very tempting.
“It’s Not Hard To Make Decisions, Once You Know What Your Values Are.”
~ Roy E. Disney ~
Why is it important to live by strong positive values? Because values add value to your life. People who don’t care about values and just “do whatever they want to do”, don’t feel valuable to others or to themselves. When we live by values, we create an environment of being trustworthy and accountable. These attributes draw people to us and make us more valuable in their eyes and in our own.
When you value keeping your promises, you will be raising your own value in the eyes of your spouse and your children. When you live by the value of being honest, your spouse and your boss will never have to question your word. When you build the reputation of someone with integrity, you will never have a shortage of people who could vouch for you.
I’d like to give you some guidelines so that you can see the fruit of living by great values.
1. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR PERSONAL VALUES
What are the values that will determine your life? The best way to find your most important values, is by asking questions, like:
- What’s important to you regarding your own life (personal and spiritual)? I like going to bed knowing that I’ve done my best for God, myself, my family and everyone I came in contact with. I didn’t cheat myself or others by living halfheartedly.
- What specific values do you have regarding marriage? No secrets, for instance? Complete access to each other’s social media accounts? Does this sound like doubting each other? I promise you, it’s not. People don’t plan to fail, but they fail because they didn’t plan to succeed. When people are accountable to one another in marriage, they achieve so much more! I cannot stress enough how important it is for married couples to have a set of core values for their marriage!
- What values do you want to live by in your career or business? How about always make sure you don’t just get a salary, but deserve and honestly earn your salary? What about doing more than what you get paid to do? These are values that will take you further than you could ever go without it!
- What are your values as a parent? I never want to use the excuse “I’m tired” when my children are in need of my attention. I never want to be too busy for them. When they want to share anything with me, I will stop and listen. Who knows what secrets or hurts I might be able to help them with by just listening to their stories!?
These are just a few of the values that I live by. What are yours?
2. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN GOOD VALUES AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY
Tell your kids when you get too much change and let them see how you return it. When people cut in in front of you while driving, give them the benefit of the doubt and tell your children that we don’t know what’s happening in their lives, so let’s just let them be. It is easier to intentionally decide to not react in anger towards other people, than it is to have to start or end a day angry and upset about things you can’t change.
When you fail, like all of us do from time to time, admit it to your children and ask their forgiveness for not living according to your values. They need to see that we fail ourselves, but we can recognize, apologize and fix our own behavior. When it comes to teaching our children good strong values, we sometimes need to look for opportunities throughout the day.
One evening, years ago, we went to pick up my husband from the airport, who was away on business for a day. I bought some cool drinks from the pharmacy and noticed the toe rings on the very high counter. My children (3 & 5 years at the time) were standing behind me. As we left the pharmacy, my daughter stopped me to show me her ring! I immediately recognized it as one of the toe rings and asked her where she got it. She smiled and said: “I picked it up on the floor in the pharmacy!” Now for most of us, picking something up means “finders keepers”, but I don’t believe in teaching my children this “rule” in all circumstances. I immediately went down to her level and this was our conversation:
“Chloé, mommy saw those rings on the counter in the pharmacy. It must have fallen off the counter. We will have to take it back.”
“But it fits me!”
“I know. You can keep it, if you are okay with being a thief. If you know who it belongs to, you can’t keep it. It’s called stealing!”
“I don’t want to be a thief…”
“Then what do you say we take it back?”
“Let’s take it back mommy.”
I could have bought that ring for her, but she also needed to learn that many times we do good deeds and don’t get rewarded for it.
In conclusion, I remember watching a show called “MythBusters” a few years ago. They wanted to test the theory that you can get people to do anything under hypnosis. Some people knew about the test and others that agreed to be hypnotized didn’t know what the experiment was about. The strangest thing happened. No one – whether they knew or didn’t know about the experiment – did anything they were told under hypnosis that was directly against their core values. They knew what they were told to do after waking up from the hypnosis, but every single one of them refused to do it. It was in their own control. The conclusion that the MythBuster-Team came to, was that your core values rule your life and unless you change your mind about your values, you will never cross that invisible line.
Living with and teaching good values to others is a life-long commitment. Will you commit to let good values rule your life? Whether you have good or bad values, they are ruling your life anyway.
“Values Are Like Fingerprints. Nobody’s Are The Same, But You Leave Them All Over Everything You Do.”
~ Elvis Presley ~
Let Values Make Your Life More Valuable!