Updated 12/18/2015. I first wrote this in 2013, today I update the numbers but not the content.
I want to focus my mind and heart today.
I want to focus them on my wife.
In fact, I like to think about her every day.
But today, today is special.
- Not because of any specific date on the calendar.
- Not because it’s an anniversary of anything.
- Not because society says it’s special.
Today is special like yesterday, because today…I’m married to my best friend.
I want to think about and write down some things I love about her…things I’ve never told her.
- I like to say silly things to make her raise her eyes to the sky and smile just so…I love her smile.
- I love the way she rushes out of bed at the first sound of one of our kids. She’s been doing this for 5 years. She wants me to sleep so I can wake up at 5 AM and chase our dreams. I love that she sacrifices her sleep for our family.
- I love watching her talk to others about our kids and parenting. She doesn’t know this, but she can’t do it without smiling. Have I mentioned that I love her smile?
- I love when she puts her feet on my lap while we are watching TV and asks me to rub them.
- I love how she talks about Jesus to our kids.
- I love when she whispers at night just as we climb into bed, “Will you pray?”
- I love how she sits at the kitchen table with her Bible and journal and studies God’s words.
- I love how she experiments with recipes and tries new things for us to eat.
- I love that her dreams are bigger than mine. I love that we chase them together.
- I love how she cares and talks about our friends everyday.
Marissa, I love you.
- Start a list like I did above of things you love about your spouse. Next time you are angry with them; get the list out and start reading through all the reasons you love them. You’ll be amazed at how this will help you.
- Brag about your spouse today to someone.
- Leave a new note everyday in the same place telling your spouse one thing you love about them or the two of you together.
- Plan a “tell all” date. Take your spouse out on a date and tell him/her all the things you haven’t yet.
- Write a letter, email, note, text message, blog post, Facebook post, Tweet…whatever…but just write something right now to your spouse. SERIOUSLY, STOP READING AND WRITE SOMETHING RIGHT NOW. Come on, write just one sentence. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING?
- Call your spouse right now and tell them you love them.
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:
- Providing us a tool to be on the same page in parenting decisions.
- Help us establish a more clear picture of where we want our family to head for the future.
- Help each of us make parenting decisions the other would make when we can’t talk a decision over.
- Give our kids the road map.
- 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.
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.
“Come on boys, get cleaned up. I’m taking you for ice cream.”
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.
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.
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?
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Have you heard the myth “Kids don’t come with instruction manuals.”?
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There are two dangers in believing this myth:
- The responsibility to be a “parent” can seem overwhelming.
- Many parents give raising their kids successfully over to chance.
Don’t believe this myth.
I actually have two instruction manuals for my kids.
Parenting without a plan is the fastest way to raise your kids without equipping them to have the best life they can.
If you’re a parent, you need to know about this one instruction manual we’ve all been given. In it, it says, “Teach this stuff to your kids. Talk about it with them before going to bed and as soon as you get up, while going about your day and while resting.”
The author is telling us that every moment is a teaching moment with our kids.
There are at least two reasons this is true:
- We don’t have forever and a day to teach our kids what they need to know
- We are teaching most when we ain’t meaning to be teaching at all. In other words, more is caught than is taught.
The first instruction manual I’m talking about is the Bible. For this post, I’m specifically talking about Deuteronomy 6:7.
Make Your Parenting Count; 5,6,7; is one of the parenting workshops I facilitate. The 5 comes from Deuteronomy being the 5th book of the Bible, the 6th chapter at the 7th verse tells us; “Teach this stuff to your kids….all the time” (I‘m paraphrasing of course) The main point, more is caught than is taught.
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:
- Read Deuteronomy chapter 5 and Deuteronomy 6:4 for a list of the most important lessons we are to teach our children. Then, read Chapter 6 verse 7 to see when we are to teach our kids these most important lessons.
- Explore and grasp the total concept of more is caught than is taught. For example; how you treat people teaches your kids more about how they are to treat people than how you tell them to treat people. (You might have to read that again, I had to type twice to get it right.)
- If your married, you and your spouse must be on the same page. If you’ve never talked about this, plan a night away just the two of you, to talk about this. You need a plan of action for your parenting. (I’m blushing, but sure…you can click to tweet that)
- Follow the 10 commandments…even the ones about not lying and not wanting what isn’t yours.
- Get connected to a strong healthy church.
- Begin writing letters to your kids in the future. (These by the way have become my second instruction manual for my kids.)
- Be involved and be focused in the lives of your kids. Not more then you are in your relationship with God or your spouse. Like it or not, in the healthiest families, kids come third. (Actually they come first by making them third…I call this the Parenting Equation, it’s some crazy math)
- ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:
- Identify what you need to do in your relationship with God and make that priority.
- Right now, write your kids a letter for this date next year. Make them a promise of something you want to model better. Maybe it’s telling the truth, being nicer to strangers, not gossiping, etc. Work to make the change you just promised your kid.
- Read Deuteronomy 5 and 6 (this will take you five minutes)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?:
Add your thoughts to the comments or on my Facebook Page
- What do you think about the idea of making your kids first by putting them third?
- What tip or suggestion works for you to practice more is caught than is taught?
Today I announce the release of my eWorkbook; Write Your Life, A Four-Step-Plan To Influence A Better Tomorrow For Those You Lead and Love.
Like many people, I tried to write goals. But truthfully, I just never felt like I was getting what God wanted for me, I didn’t feel like I was getting his dream for me. I would read other’s goals and think, “man, I wish I had wrote that.” Or, “wow, I wish I could think of goals that clear and creative for my life.” I would pray and reflect, but never felt like I was getting my goals just right.
In the introduction of Write Your Life I share the story of how that all changed for me the night before my daughters first birthday.
What I’ve discovered since has helped me get clear on my goals. I’ve discovered that one of the greatest challenges I had in my goals was that they weren’t goals at all. I had a list of desires with a goal here and there. Now, I have clear goals for my marriage, my parenting and my workplace leadership. I’ve never felt so confident that my goals were God inspired.
I created Write Your Life as an eWorkbook It’s more about you experiencing and writing letters then me telling you about writing letters. My prayer is that you find this resource inspiring and you use it to write letters to the people you care about the most. And, that by writing these letters:
- you leave for them a written account of your hopes and dreams,
- create a legacy worth living towards, and
- discover the goals you need to work towards to make your life everything God wants it to be.
This free 70 page PDF workbook has both information and worksheets designed to guide and help you.
Write Your Life is divided into five sections:
* A short introduction in section 1 tells the story of how I discovered the power in writing letters for future dates and events to the people I care for most.
* In section 2 I unpack the process and pitfalls to be mindful of.
* Sections 3 and 4 will guide you through the four steps of reflecting, planning, clarifying and writing process.
* Section 5 includes links and resources.
You will discover what’s really important for you to teach and what to model for those most important in your life.
Write Your Life is for:
* Married Couples,
* Those Hoping to be Parents,
* Those Hoping to be Grandparents, and
* Workplace Leaders
This eWorkbook is provided free to those who subscribe to my blog’s email list to receive updates when I publish new content. Subscribers also receive exclusive offers and content not available on the blog.
Have you ever wrote a letter to someone for the future? Received a letter from someone wrote to you long ago? Comment below.