Recently, I’ve been wondering about “family values.” Obviously, every parent wants to instill values in their children. Mostly, I think we all have good intentions about teaching children about the world and their role in it. But I think it is so much harder than we realize. I recently read two posts that got me thinking:
Megan @ SortaCrunchy says this:
“If I want my children to live differently when my back is turned, then it is my responsibility to make sure that I am living differently, every single day of our lives together.” She talks about living counter-culturally, radically for the Gospel. As she emphasizes, this is reflected in choices we make as parents moment by moment. Our family values are not what we say but what we do. What am I communicating to my children about what our family values?
Missy @ It’s Almost Naptime writes about desiring not happiness for her kids, but contentment and holiness. Writing to her kids, she says “I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom.” There is much about sacrifice, laying down my life and picking up the cross, that it hard and counter-cultural. Again, to make this a reality to my children, it needs to be evident not in the words I speak, but in my choices everyday, the everyday choices of our family. She continues: “But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.” Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish what is a good and holy choice. But I believe in the distinction between happiness and the Joy of Christ, and I pray that God would lead us in the choices we make to make His joy (and peace!) known to those around us.
It can often feel overwhelming to me to share with my children all that we believe is important: love one another, share always, stand up for those who can’t take a stand for themselves, buy locally, eat organic, be a steward of the earth, pick up our trash, keep it simple, etc. In all of that, it can get mixed up — why do we prioritize these things? It loses meaning, gets jumbled up, if it gets disconnected from our one family value: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” That’s it. If I am truly living this out, moment to moment, it will be evident in my choices. As integral to my being as breathing, I will demonstrate my “family values” and my children will know God’s heart for themselves.