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Creating Family Core Values (Why and How)

Just like an organizations or companies core values, having core values as a family has several benefits.  But how do you write a set of family core values?  And, once you do have your core values for your family; what do you do with them?

My wife, Marissa and I decided to write a set of core values for our family.  We knew that the benefits would include at least:

  1. Providing us a tool to be on the same page in parenting decisions.
  2. Help us establish a more clear picture of where we want our family to head for the future.
  3. Help each of us make parenting decisions the other would make when we can’t talk a decision over.
  4. Give our kids the road map.
  5. Set our kids up with an easy to remember filtering system to have in making decisions as they get older.

So we set out to create the Dingler Family Core Values.

Family Core Values

The Dingler Family Core Values

The Process We Used


We talk about the core values for several weeks. Each of us spent time thinking and praying about what we should include.  We read other blogs posts, listened to some specific podcasts (okay, so that might have been just me) and talk with friends.

We made plans for a babysitter to watch the kids during and after a speaking engagement at the Parenting Expo in Pittsburgh early in 2014.

After we got off stage, we went to one of our favorite restaurants; Smokey Bones.

We got a table in the back corner and got to talking and writing.

After a few hours we settled on 7 core values.

We left and gave the core values a couple weeks to marinate.

One afternoon on a long drive, we decided to keep the 7 we had.  We wanted some easy way to remember them.  As we talked about several options, I realized that our last name happens to have 7 letters.  Once we started to assign each core value to one of the letters of our last name; we were shocked how fast and easy it happened.  (Almost freaky easy between you and me.)

Marissa found a store on Etsy and had our core values turned into the wall hanging you see pictured here.

Advice For You To Create Your Family Core Values


  • Give it time.
  • Pray about it.
  • Give it time.
  • Pray about it.
  • Talk about it.
  • Give it time.

How To Keep These From Just Being Art


Our next challenge is to make sure these don’t simply become wall art.  We strategically hung our core values beside our kitchen table.  We do (and will always) eat dinner together as a family.  Having these right there will guide our conversations as our kids get older and we speak truth into their decisions.

Starting next week I’m going to focus on one core value per week.  I plan to study each of our core values one at a time, one week at a time, forever.  I will look for different supporting Bible passages. (I will assigned each core value a color highlight and I’m highlighting corresponding scriptures in the appropriate color or two or three etc)  Is this a commitment of time.  Yes.  But, it’s just one small way I’ll ensure I’m being the Leader for my family that God has called me to be.

Finally, we have to talk to our kids about these core values all the time.  Marissa and I realize that our kids are going to roll their eyes every time we quote one of these core values. And I’m okay with that.  Because when the darkness comes, they’ll be equipped with the light of truth to scare away the monsters in the world.

Care To Share


What about you?  What’s the first core value you plan to recommend to your spouse for your family?


If you have any questions email me directly.



Why You Shouldn’t Be In A Hurry To Stop A Toddler’s Tantrum

Parenting in the toddler zone means you are most assuredly going to deal with tantrums.  This can be one of the most frustrating parenting challenges.  But, tantrums are normal and can be very valuable for your toddler.

Surviving The Toddler Years

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Learning how to cope with disappointment at a young age will help our kids develop skills they can use with the broken heart the first time their boyfriend/girlfriend dumps them, if their first college choice says no, or when their first boss has to reprimand them.

It hurts to see your little one cry and be sad, but it will hurt more when they turn to drugs, cutting, gluttony, premarital sex, alcohol or any other unhealthy vice to cope with disappointment when they are older.


One beautiful late summer evening turned into a toddler-tantrum night around the Dingler house. Our three year old was in rare form, and not in a pleasant “how cute” kind of way. Oh no, you see we have a premium model toddler, complete with all the extra bells and whistles.

It was a really nice evening outside, and my wife wanted to take a few pictures of the kids. As I was helping our daughter with her shoes, my wife carried our son and her camera out the front door. Which apparently, to a three year old, is the bat-signal for “THE WORLD IS ENDING, BEGIN HYSTERIA NOW”.

Our duaghter thought for sure her mommy wasn’t going to take her picture….a diva issue for another post.

When our daughter got outside to my wife, our daughter screamed at her mom for leaving without her. Not, yelled or talked loudly because she was crying.  And not a scream of joy for being reunited with that which she thought she had lost. Oh no. She outright screamed AT her mother.

My wife calmly yet immediately brought her back into the house. I sat inside with our 3 year old as my wife and son stayed outside and took some great pictures.

And WOW, did our daughter cry and cry. She was really upset. She kept repeating over and over, “I want mommy to take my picture!”

While holding her I calmly and simply repeated over and over, “I know you want to get your picture taken, but you don’t scream at people. When you aren’t nice you don’t deserve what you want.” Not a reply she liked hearing.

Sure, we could have bribed or redirected her attention to get her to calm down so she was “happy”. But, like God is with us…her happiness isn’t at the top of my priority list. I’m concerned about her character more than her happiness or comfort. I’m willing to let her wrestle with a consequence now, so she lives in a way to avoid them later.

I didn’t enjoy watching her sob and cry and be upset. In fact, I hated seeing my little girl like that. But, I’d rather see her a wreck at 3 over not getting her picture taken than a drunk at 15 because her friends at school don’t like her. I’d rather see her spitting mad at me at 3 because I won’t let her have the exact sippy-cup at night she wants when I’ve already given her a different one. (That happened a few nights ago) Hey, in life you don’t always get the sippy-cup you want. (Click to Tweet that, it will really mess with your Twitter friends heads,)


It’s Okay To Let Them Be Upset


  1. Let your little one be upset from time to time. A tantrum isn’t just a toddler’s way of trying to get what they want. It’s how they communicate their frustration because they lack the ability and vocabulary to express themselves calmly. An 8 year having a tantrum, that is more likely manipulative behavior to try to get their way. They learned at 3 and 4, tantrums equal getting what I want. If you have to take a toy from your one year because you want them to eat. Guess what, they are going to launch screaming murderous vocal darts at you. DON’T GIVE THE TOY BACK. It’s okay for them to scream a minute. They don’t know that the next minute of their life will indeed arrive. And, for that matter, they don’t realize it will most likely have s spoon full of yummy dinner.
  2. Don’t punish them during the tantrum.  Firmly, yet with compassion and grace, let them know they are okay, “it will be okay”, and that you love them.  Go brain dead and just keep repeating to them; “We can talk about this as soon as you are as calm as I am.”  It’s okay if they are still crying…there ain’t no problem with tears….however, they can learn to be calm, have tears and still use their words.  It just takes lots of practice.  Some kids need to have time alone to calm down.  Others, need you to stay right there with them.  You’ll have to decide which works best with your kid.
  3. Keep your feelings out of it. Did it hurt my feelings last night to see our daughter so upset? Yes. Would I have felt better making her feel better right away and then going outside and taking pictures? Yes. But making my kids happy isn’t my parenting desire. Raising them to make wise decisions based on the understanding of cause and effect so they have happy lives is my desire.


  • Have a conversation with your spouse about how you as a family are going to handle tantrums.
  • Encourage parents of toddlers. Ask to babysit so that mom and dad can have a date night.
  • Get instant access here to six resources to help you survive the Toddler Zone. (Hint: 3 of them are free)  (The resource is called: Proactive Parenting: Surviving The Toddler Zone Resources)



Questions: What has helped you most in parenting through the toddler zone? What’s the best advice you’ve heard for dealing with tantrums? What is your top tip to new parents or parents about to enter “the toddler zone”?

Did you enjoy, grow or learn from this? Please consider helping others by sharing, commenting and subscribing.


Want To Keep Your Kids From Getting Involved With The Wrong Crowd?

Recently I was speaking with a  subscriber to this blog and was inspired to write this post.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

The McAfoose family is a family on a mission.

In the last year, they’ve raised over $100,000 to buy, repair, license and open an orphanage in the Philippines. Why? Because they believe God wants them to. And now, their children are seeing their parents trust and serve a God of the impossible. And, they aren’t done.

While spending time with them at a recent fundraiser for the Jesus Love Me Orphanage, the wife and mom of the family shared with me about two new adventures she is planning with her five children for the summer.

Her and her daughters are planning to have a spa and meal time for women in poverty.

Her sons have identified and asked a handful of widows if they could mow their yards and do other chores for them once a week during the summer.

The love for others of this family keeps coming to my mind. So, I thought I’d create a list of ideas that I can one day use with my own kids. So, in addition to the spa and mowing ideas, here’s more.  Maybe you and your kids can use some of them now.

When kids are in a home that is being bold for God, they won’t be drawn to the “wrong” crowd.  They’ll have all the adventure they want and need right at home.


A Family That Serves Together….Serves Together
Tweet That


  1. First, pray that God would reveal his desire and will for you in this matter. If any of these ideas speak to you, awesome. If not, alter one and share what you think of.
  2. Identify and invite a single parent family over for dinner once a week.
  3. Sponsor a child through Compassion International. As a family, write letters to and pray about the child you sponsor once per week.
  4. If you have a skill such as automotive mechanic, baking, electrical, plumbing, data entry….ask God to bring someone into your life you can mentor and apprentice for free. Imagine, you are your kid teaching a young parent a skill they can turn around and use to get a job to provide for their family.
  5. Volunteer together as a family at church.
  6. Ask your kids school if they could use some volunteers over the summer to paint classrooms, clean desks, etc.
  7. Set up a lemonaid stand and give the proceeds to a charity.
  8. Plant and work a large garden. Donate the veggies to a food pantry. Teach canning and preserving for free and let them keep the canned goods.
  9. Ask your kids what they want to do. What are they passionate about? What bothers them the most that they want to make an effect on?


  • Plan a family dinner to talk about the topic of serving together as a family.
  • Make a list of ideas and ask your kids to vote on their favorite.
  • Check out more about the McAfoose Family and how you can support the Jesus Loves Me Children’s Orphanage when you purchase one of our shirts.




Question: What idea would you add?  What volunteer work have you done alongside your kids? 

If you are another blogger and have a post related to this that others might find helpful, please feel free to share a link in the comments.

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22 Parenting Goals To Raise Great Kids

Do you want your kids to behave?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Me to. We all want our kids to behave.

Do you know this isn’t a goal however?  In fact, having “kids that behave” as a goal will only lead to great frustration that will lead to anger.

Anger is the result of a blocked goal.  Goals that rely on others are desires.

We have lots to desire for our kids, we desire for them to behave, choose good friends, want a relationship with Jesus, and so on.  But, since we can’t make our kids choose these things…they are desires not goals.

So, we have to set goals that help us achieve our desires.

With mindset shift, you will see a significant decrease in your anger, because your goals will be properly placed.  Below our suggested starting points for goals you can use or alter for your goals.

These goals all: 

  • rely only on you to achieve them,
  • rely on the truth that more is caught than is taught, and
  • will help you parent your kids into positive decision making machines….one day.


Desire: Kids have great marriages:


  • Treat your spouse every day with love and respect.
  • Tell your spouse daily you love them and one reason why…in front of the kids.
  • Talk positively about your spouse in front of your kids when your spouse isn’t around.
  • Be intentional about your marriage…more than you were about the wedding.

Desire: Kids have a good work ethic:


  • Talk about the benefits of work.  Such as having a sense of purpose, money to live on, give, save and have fun with.
  • Don’t gossip about your boss or others at work.
  • If you don’t like your job, change it.  Live your dream responsibly   Your kids will do the same one day.

Desire: Have good friends:


  • Hang out once a week with good family friends.
  • Don’t gossip about your friends.
  • Talk about the impact your friends are having on your life.

Desire: Have a relationship with Jesus Christ.


  • Go to a Bible-teaching healthy church.
  • Don’t complain about the pastor or people at church.
  • Don’t just do church on Sunday…live a love relationship with Jesus Christ every day.
  • Read the Bible and pray as a family.
  • Don’t punish your kids with church, youth group, reading the Bible, etc.
  • Don’t tell your kids that “going to youth will help/fix you”.  Jesus does that, not youth group.

Desire: Raise generous kids.


  • Do mission work with your kids.
  • Tithe. And pray about your tithe with your children.
  • Let your kids choose what they want to give a portion of their money to.  It doesn’t have to be Sunday School…in fact, it probably shouldn’t be.

Desire: Kids that choose clean entertainment.


  • Don’t watch a TV show or movie you wouldn’t let your kids watch.  This just shows your kids that one day they can stop worrying about protecting their minds and hearts from being corrupted by unhealthy things.

Desire: Kids that have character and tell the truth.


  • Never ask your kids to tell little white lies for you. For example, when the phone rings don’t say….”If it’s for me, I’m not home.”
  • Don’t lie.
  • Check out the Character Growth Chart, it’s designed to help develop character in our kids that measures up.


  • In your Bible, in a journal, in Evernote, anywhere really….start a list of desires that you have for your kids future.  Then, you can start figuring out goals to set to give these desires the best chance they can have.
  • Don’t have time right now to do this.  Email me when you’d like to be reminded to work on it.  I’ll email you a reminder and follow up with you to see how it’s going.




Help Your Kids Build Character That Measures Up

“Come on boys, get cleaned up. I’m taking you for ice cream.”Helping With Character Development in Kids

My brother and I looked at each other in total disbelief. We ran down to the house faster than we ever had before. “Really? Why?” we asked our dad.

“Your mom just told me that the two of you have behaved all day. I’m proud of you.”

I don’t remember what I ordered, or what we even talked about while eating our ice cream. I don’t remember what clothes we had on or what vehicle we went in. I do remember vividly my dad saying, “I’m proud of you.” And, I remember the reason for the reward.

Parenting is a balancing act. And, it’s a tough job.

Let’s say you walk into the living room after hearing a large crash. You discover your two kids standing there unhurt with a broken lamp on the floor beside them. “What happened?” you ask. Now, your kids have a choice; lie or tell the truth.

“An alien came through the window and smashed the lamp.” or
“We knocked it over and it broke.”

Let’s say your kids tell the truth about knocking it over. So you ask, “How did it get knocked over?”

“We were tossing the ball back and forth.” they reply.

“You know you’re not suppose to be doing that, go to your room.”

Now, let’s fast forward a week. You discover your kids have done something else they knew they shouldn’t have. You ask…”what happened?” At some point, your kids are going to lie to you. Why? They don’t want to get in trouble. That’s just human nature.

But, let’s go back a week to the broken lamp. What if your reply had been something like this.

“How many times have I told you you aren’t suppose to be playing ball in the house? You are going to be punished for this. But, I also want you to know I’m proud of you for telling the truth. Telling the truth is what’s most important here. It doesn’t get you off the hock, but it does help it so your punishment won’t be as bad.”

Now, kids being kids and all…the next time they may still lie. But, they have a much greater chance of telling the truth. Especially if you repeatedly point out the times they tell the truth. After all, what gets repeated gets remembered. And, what get’s reward gets repeated.

But parenting is tough, it’s hard to always remember to highlight the positive. Especially when you are tired or upset that your kids did something they knew they shouldn’t have. What if you had a visual reminder…for you and for them.

What’s hanging on your walls or fridge right now? Are they things you are proud of? Probably. What about your kids artwork, trophies or awards? I want to introduce you to a new tool to display your kid’s positive character decisions.

The Character Growth Chart.SONY DSC

Let’s return to the above broken lamp example for just a moment.

“How many times have I told you you aren’t suppose to be playing ball in the house? You are going to be punished for this. But, I also want you to know I’m proud of you for telling the truth. Telling the truth is what’s most important here. It doesn’t get you off the hock, but does help it so your punishment won’t be as bad. In fact, come here a second.” You and your kids go to the Character Growth Chart. You have them stand with their back against it, mark their height and write something like this…. “Rilee told the truth when she broke a lamp.”

WOW, what a powerful moment this could be for your kids. You can’t…and probably shouldn’t….give ice cream every time thy tell the truth. You probable won’t use the Character Growth Chart every time they display a character trait you want to reinforce. But the times you do use it, will be a big moment for your kids. Plus, when people come over to your place and see the accomplishments displayed, you and they can brag on your kids a bit. Another reinforcement of a positive choice.Character Growth Chart, Helping Parents Teach Character To Their Children

Why is this important for your family?  You are trying to instill character over anything else in your kids. After all, your kids character will determine the decisions they make when you aren’t with them. (tweet that)

If you want this powerful tool to use with your kids or grandkids, you can order one of the handmade Character Growth Charts for only $65 (includes shipping and tax). $65 for a tool to impact the lives of your kids forever.  Click Here for our secure order form, or ask questions in the comments.


  • What do you think about the idea of a Character Growth Chart?
  • What do you do to help build your kid’s character?

If you are another blogger and have a post related to this that others might find helpful, please feel free to share a link in the comments.

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