Values define society. Think about the country you live in. What values define your society? Currently we live in Sweden. What values do you think define Swedish people? My husband, Patrik, and I were just talking the other night about politics in Sweden. Patrik made an interesting comment, he said that political parties do not determine the values of the Swedish people. Rather, the values of the Swedish people are reflected in the political parties. So what defines Swedes as a society? Hard-working. Equal rights for all. Individuals contributing collectively. But where do these values come from? As my husband was saying, these values are from the reformation time of Martin Luther. Swedes weren't always this way. Often times values can be traced back to a religion as the basis. There could be a change in values with the occurrence of events - both negative and positive. The important thing is to be able to reflect upon your own personal values and determine what values are important to you.
Values Determine Behaviour
Why are values so important? Values determine individual behaviour. Values are the why behind the what. Values provide internal motivation. We believe that family values supercede family rules. Rules are a list of do's and don't. Values motivate behaviour. Rules control behaviour. Similarly, values precede any goals. If you are having difficulty thinking of goals or keeping your goals in years past, perhaps you first need to determine your values. If your goal is in line with your values, it will help keep you motivated to give you a reason for pressing on, even when it's hard.
Who, what, when and how are your values determined? We would like to suggest that the parents set the values for a family. With this being said, when two individuals come together to live as one family, each brings with them their own set of family values. For any couple, it is vitally important to talk about what values defined your family of origin. To discuss which values you want to keep and which values you want to let go of. And which values you want to adopt. Of course, it is easiest to do this before having children, but it is important at any stage for the parents and children to have a clear understanding of their values.
Patrik and I are both very driven individuals in different ways. We both love growing, learning, and bettering ourselves. While we were engaged, we started discussing our family of origins, values, and how we want our relationship to be defined. After we were married, and especially when we got pregnant, we spent time determine our values, We brainstormed a lot. We discussed a lot. We wrote down a lot. Our future, our dreams, our passions. In all the messy notes, and hours upon hours of discussing, we emerged with 3 clear values that we want to define us.
Above all else, we want LOVE to define who we are, which determines what we do. We have chosen 3 focus areas within our core value of LOVE, which includes: God, People, & Life. We love God above all else, from which a love for People flows. Loving Life includes enjoying, celebrating, and living life with joy!
PURPOSE is another of our core values with specific focus upon: growing, connecting, and serving. We feel that it is part of our purpose to keep growing, learning, and refining ourselves. We believe that living within community is part of our purpose and to connect with people is vital to our purpose. Our hearts are to serve others through our purpose, making the world around us a better place.
Another core value is GENEROSITY with specific focus upon: time, talent, and treasure. We want to be generous with our time - which means we are intentional and focused, making the most of the time we have. We want to be generous with our talents, our God-given abilities and passion that drives us to live out our calling. Lastly, treasure, which is our money. We want to be generous and wise with our money, no matter how much or little we have, we want to gift, bless and support others financially.
If we could choose one overarching word above all of these values, it would be LEGACY. Legacy gives us perspective and reminds us that who we are and what we are doing is not for ourselves, it is for our legacy. You determine the LEGACY you create. As you determine your values, think about creating legacy. What do you want to leave behind? Think not only in terms of this next year, but think 50 - 100 - 150 years from now. What can you do to create a lasting legacy?