Covid 19 Gives Families "Pause"

You have so much power in your family to affect your children's future and 2020 has been a real game changer due to Covid -19. This has been a great time for parents to create rituals that emphasize the all-important values in a family.

What do you value for yourself and your family? Values need to be congruent with those qualities that you believe to be important to society. In other words, those values need to make the world a better place. If you work from a value-based hierarchy you will teach your kids to operate and function with greater purpose. Some examples of intrinsic values that perpetuate that kind of energy include:

  • Persistence

  • Honesty

  • Loyalty

  • Commitment

  • Honor

  • Appreciation

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Spirituality

What are your values? And more importantly, what values do you promote in your life? Write them down in the order of what importance they have. Be honest. Don’t write them down in the order you feel they should be in your life. Instead, write them down in the order in which they fall in your current life with others. For example, many people put spirituality or God at the top of their value list, but when they get honest, they admit that many of their decisions are not God-based. This can be a wake-up call to help you figure out ways to put God back into your decision-making process.

Now look at what you want to teach your kids? Is it honesty, generosity, communication, or loyalty? Decide the 3 most important values and then create some family rituals to emphasize these values. It may look like a mandated...yes, I said movie night where you pick a movie that teaches the values.

Or if "Community" is important you may use one Saturday morning to get involved in neighbor cleanups or spiritual gatherings or nursing home visits.

Perhaps you would like to incorporate more spirituality into your day. Well that ritual may be as simple as praying at each meal, which may have been a ritual you did in your childhood but got away from as things became more hectic.

As a child, my family had a family ritual whereby we always shared a "Family Pleasants." Each one of us was expected to talk about one good thing that occurred in our day. This obviously taught the family the attitude of gratitude. So, if gratitude is on your list, you may decide to ask each family member to discuss one thing that they were grateful for in their day.

Now these newfound rituals may meet with some resistance, but don't let that discourage you. I would advise that you have a family meeting and discuss the importance of family values and let the kids know that you want to incorporate a family ritual to emphasize these values. You might ask them what is important to them and add their values to the list. When a client of mine did this with her 3 children ranging from ages 6-12, she was amazed when one of the children pulled her aside and said I want to make Dad an "I Love You Book" which reminded him of all the reasons this child loved him!

The important thing to remember is that you stay convicted about the importance of creating these rituals because kids do better with structure and activities that emphasize your values. Know that you are planting the seeds for healthier child rearing!

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