What do you consistently do? What decisions do you consistently make? What routines have you established? What choices have become the norm? What’s the same for you yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

Whether you’ve thought about it or not, these consistencies are due to your values. They drive our choices and decisions.

Keep thinking . . .

If we want our children to make the same choices and decisions we might make in similar circumstances, they need to know our values. Since adults aren’t always aware of what’s driving their choices, we sure can’t assume our children know why we do what we do.

Our values matter.

As I write on p. 144 in my forthcoming book, Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World:

We shouldn’t assume the reasons we value what we value are obvious. Most often, the why isn’t seen or heard. To pass on our values, we must talk about them often, encourage our children to observe us, and not as­sume every question they ask is judgmental.

Let’s be alert to opportunities to talk about our values during teachable moments that aren’t forced. When we don’t come across as lecturers, children will more likely listen, comprehend, and act on what we share.

Do we have the courage to suggest they observe us? Have we taught them how to ask questions respectfully? Do we have the patience and compassion and other-centeredness to calmly and clearly answer their questions about our choices even if they come across as judgmental?

If we want our children to become more like us in every way that is good, we can’t assume they will. We must use and create opportunities to share, compliment, correct, teach, observe, listen, …

We must be connected.

Let me do a U-turn . . .

What if by reading this, you’ve been reminded you don’t like what you consistently do? What if you’re unhappy with or stressed by decisions you consistently make? What if this helped you see how unhealthy some of your routines are? What if you’ve been wanting to make different choices, but haven’t been successful?

Keep thinking . . .

Your values need to change for your choices and decisions to change.

Our values influence so much!

  • How we spend our money.
  • Who we go out of the way to talk to.
  • What we choose to talk about and whether we will be persuasive or agree to disagree.
  • Whether we talk much about education, politics, religion, church, and faith.
  • What we do in our spare time.
  • Whether we turn down a promotion to stay closer to extended family or move across the country.
  • What causes we support.
  • What candidates we vote for.
  • How quickly we forgive.
  • Whether we own responsibility for our attitudes and actions or not.
  • What character qualities we exhibit.
  • Whether we prioritize wisdom over information.
  • Who we love.

Our values matter.

Are you frustrated? Examine your values. You can change them to change your decision-making patterns.

Do your children’s decisions and choices frustrate you. Examine your values. Then examine theirs.

(I discuss the role of family values several times in the new book about how technology influences our teens’ beliefs and behaviors. We hope you’ll want to purchase Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World from us soon or at Amazon.com when it is available in early March. Thursday, March 5th would be an ideal purchase date.)