| from Dr. Kathy Koch |


I talk frequently with parents about the importance of passing on values to their children. 

Values are one of the things that makes us a family. They bind us together as a family unit – especially when they’re known.

What do you value? What’s valuable to you? What things, ideals, customs, people, institutions, and more matter to you more than others? Do you know? Do your children know?

I often instruct parents to not assume children will figure out what they value by just living with them. Conversations help and I would argue are necessary for values to become deeply rooted in our children. Of course, children have to want to be a part of your family for that to happen.

Recently, I provided this list to help parents think through their values. It’s not complete, but maybe it will help you: faith, country, love, happiness, other-centered, money, family, service, education, health, truth, Christlike character.

The other day I realized in a fresh way that we value many “little” things. When we pay attention to what we do and why we do it, values are revealed. They are visible!

I was at the gym and had followed my trainer to a corner. She asked me to wait and rest while she began to set up fitness boards on pallets so I’d have something to lift my legs onto in a challenging “tapping exercise” she thinks is good for me. (Ha-ha! She doesn’t care what I think!)

While I waited, I happened to look to my right and I instantly saw what would work better – the StairMaster! No setup would be necessary. It was right there. Positioning the steps allowed one of them to be the perfect height off the floor.

Linda thanked me. I was quite excited.

What’s the big deal?

I realized in that moment how much I value efficiency. I wasn’t surprised – I know myself quite well. It’s just that when I realized efficiency motivated my decision and actions, I realized it was a value. It wasn’t a preference or a like. It was deeper than that for me.

I’ve never liked wasting time. When I’m at a store, I almost always use a list and prioritize not having to backtrack. When I’m ready to check out, I choose what looks like the right line and I’m disappointed when I’m wrong. Slow traffic frustrates me.  

Also, I hated watching Linda work to create something if she didn’t need to. That was my other visible value – helping others. It, too, motivated my actions. After all, if I wouldn’t have told her of this more efficient option, I could have rested more. Values won.

Observe yourself more carefully. Listen to your words and when you say them and how and why. Do the same with your actions. Watch and be more alert. I’m guessing something may show up and surprise you. I can ask again, what do you value?


Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, and Axis. She also speaks for other organizations, churches, schools, and pregnancy resource centers. In addition, she hosts Celebrate Kids conferences through their Ignite the Family conference division. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured in Kirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has written and published five books with Moody Publishers, including Five to ThriveStart with the Heart, Screens and Teens8 Great Smarts, and No more Perfect Kids (with Jill Savage). Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.