Family Values

As part of my annual review, I finished a book on managing families across generations (recommend the book, regardless of financial position). 

Annually, I consider my values but I hadn’t formally considered our family values. My daughter is coming up on her 4th birthday and her behavior can mirror what I remember from my teens and twenties:

  • Compete with everyone, all the time
  • Near total focus on desired outcome
  • Random acts driven by impulse
  • Goodness with an element of cruelty, due to a limited capacity for empathy

Keeping in mind the lessons of last week and letting her learn by experience. My wife and I have been asking, “How should we treat this spirited young lady?” We decided to consider what we value within our own marriage. We came up with:

  1. Fair
  2. Truthful
  3. Train daily
  4. Golden Rule
  5. Always Polite

Even in childbirth (!), my wife has never raised her voice at me. How do I stack up when I consider the way I treat my own kids?

The goal of being polite provided an opportunity for insight – am I always polite to little people that are whining? Are there times when I fail to try?

As a parent, I want to hold myself to the same standards that my wife expects of me in our marriage. Because they live with me, my family will know my absolute truth.

As I improve myself, I gain empathy for others and find it much easier to handle emotionally-charged issues. My capacity to say no, discuss difficult issues, accept disagreement, let protests flow through me… all are enhanced by consistency within my own life and harmony in my marriage.

Holding myself to high standards requires effort when it is inconvenient. The payoff for this effort is internal harmony. Read the middle of this interview with Bassons for a practical example of the value of peace of mind.

I have work to do, especially when I’m tired and my daughter is melting down. Still, Monica has noticed a clear shift in my capacity to enjoy fatherhood. As an elite athlete, I took pride in doing what was required, rather than what I wanted to do. I’m tapping that trait to become a better parent.

Am I willing to teach my kids by setting limits on my behavior, my consumption and my choices? 

Nine years until my oldest is a teenager – I need to start working on my credibility now!