A few years ago, Heather and I heard a pastor talk about values that he and his wife had created for their family. Biblical truths that they held as important within their household. It got us thinking and talking at that point, what would be the values in our home? What are the truths from God’s Word that continue to come up as a theme in our parenting?
Then last year, we were part of a one-day parenting conference that asked this question: If your child was getting ready to leave your home for school or to live elsewhere, what would you say to them (besides ‘Please call home’)? What would you remind them of or want them to walk away with knowing that they know that they know? Imagine your child, with bags packed, getting ready to board a plane, or drive away in their car, what would be the encouragement you would leave them with?
Over the past few months, Heather and I have been praying, brainstorming, and talking about what are the values in our home? This fall, Maddy will be a freshman in High School and Eli will be a 7th grader. The time we have with them living under our roof is going quickly. Our challenge is how can we talk about and instill values that are based on God’s Word in our children, helping them to own these values as their own, so that when they leave our home, they will live by them. Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
So what are we doing with these 13 values? We have them posted on our fridge, and are taking one value a week to talk about and kind of be the ‘drum we beat’ that week. We are also in the process of having the values put onto a board that can be displayed in our kitchen for us to see on a regular basis. We envision that these set of values would travel with us when/if we move. Imagine stone tablets…but something much lighter that can hang by a nail. We’ve realized that these are truths we have said in one way or another for the past 14 years of being parents, and values that we, as parents, try and live out by the grace of God. The next generation learns much more from watching our way of life, than our words anyways. The walk and talk have to line up.
Why am I sharing them with you? Because if you’re a parent, I’d love for you to consider what the values would be in your home? What would be the key verses of truth that you’d want your kids to walk away from your home knowing? One key in parenting is to be intentional, and I think this is one way we can be intentional and purposeful in the discipling of our children.
Are these 13 values the end all? Not at all. Heather and I had some great conversation over the words we chose. I think initially, we had a list of 30 plus big ideas, and tried to whittle them down to short phrases you see below. The goal is not to say absolutely everything in a set of ‘Family Values’. God’s Word has already done that. The goal is to create a set of values that are memorable and ultimately are jumping off points for a variety of other Biblical truths.
So here are our Steinbeck Family Values (in no particular order):
Love Jesus and others extravagantly
Trust God and His Word completely
Work hard and do everything for God’s glory
Prioritize your family first
Pursue humility and place others before yourself
Lead others to Jesus by your words and way of life in Christ
Live with integrity and responsibility
Speak words that are honest and life giving
Talk and listen to God, your Father, all the time and about everything
Choose joy, contentment and thankfulness
Remember who you are, a forgiven and loved child of God
Walk by faith, take risks, and live fully the adventure God has you on
Believe that God is able to do far more than we can ask or imagine.
Now it is your turn to begin having the conversation in your home on the Biblical values and truths that the Lord has called you to as parents.