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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.



7 Ideas To Fail-Proof Your Marriage

Marriage’s fail.

A Happy Married Couple

Image courtesy of photostock at

And, the less intentional a couple is at working on their marriage, the more likely it is their marriage will fail.

Imagine two people decide to start a carpentry business, they:read books,

  • take some classes,
  • talk with other carpenters,
  • buy all the tools,
  • get a nice new fancy truck,
  • get a logo and business cards,
  • have a website designed and
  • get their business licence.

Now, let’s say they just sit in their truck and drive around. They never give an estimate, take a job and they never build a thing. They have all the right stuff;

  • knowledge,
  • the tools and equipment,
  • a strong desire and
  • even the label.

But, they don’t have a fail-proof carpentry business. In fact, it’s easy to see their carpentry endeavor will actually fail quickly.

It’s true for marriage.

Imagine two people decide to get married, they:

  • read books,
  • take a pre-marriage class,
  • talk with other married couples,
  • buy the rings and register for the all the stuff,
  • get a nice new fancy apartment,
  • get invitations,
  • have a beautiful wedding and
  • get their marriage license.

Now, let’s say they just settle into daily life. They stop dating, take each other for granted, stop saying please and thank you and slowly stop having fun together regularly. They have all the right stuff;

  • knowledge,
  • the tools and equipment (aka rings, marriage license, etc),
  • a strong desire and
  • even the label.

But, they don’t have a fail-proof marriage. In fact, it’s much harder to see but, their marriage endeavor will actually fail slowly and painfully.


Fun Marriages Don’t’ Fail


  1. When each spouse is fully submitted to making the other person better…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
  2. When each spouse is fully submitted to using integrity to make the other person happy…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
  3. When each spouse is fully submitted to making the other person more confident…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
  4. When each spouse is fully submitted to the character of their marriage over the comfort of their marriage…that’s fail-proofing marriage
  5. When each spouse is fully submitted to learning new things about their spouse regularly…that’s fail-proofing marriage
  6. When each spouse is fully submitted to having fun regularly with their spouse…that’s fail-proofing marriage
  7. When each spouse is fully submitted to the other…that’s fail-proofing marriage
  8. BONUS Idea (and, the lynchpin) When each spouse is fully submitted to God and having a Christ-centered marriage…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?


  • Schedule a date with your spouse.
  • Start a “New Thing List”. Resolve for one week to never let the sun go down on a day until you can record one new thing you learned about your spouse that day. If it worked for you, do it for one month. Then, 3 months, 6 months and up to a year. But hey, start with one week.
  • Brag about your spouse to someone else today.
  • Brag about your spouse to a stranger today. (use your Facebook status if you need to)


Questions: What do you think it takes to fail-proof a marriage?  Go ahead, brag about your spouse in the comments today.  

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Why and How To Lead With Grace


Leading can be messy.

Leading can be exhausting.

Leading can be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

There are so many opinions on what “THE KEY” to being a great leader is.

Frankly, there isn’t one. Leadership is the high school janitor’s giant ring of keys. Leadership is complex and multifaceted.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at

Image courtesy of graur codrin at

With that image in mind. We now have this questions. “What is the key ring?”

What’s the thing that keeps all of the keys of successful leadership held together?

I believe the key ring of leadership is Grace.

Let’s define Grace. If you are speeding down the highway and get pulled over, here is what could happen.

  1. You get a ticket. This is because you are under the law and your ticket is justice, and what you deserve.
  2. You get a warning. This is forgiveness. The cop could have given you the ticket, but decides to be forgiving.
  3. The cop walks up to your window and gives you a jelly donut. You are getting something you don’t deserve for being in the wrong, this is Grace. (Just a side note to my fellow believers of Christ…consider this analogy for a moment in your relationship with God. Powerful to consider God gives us jelly donuts everyday.)

When’s the last time you extended Grace to someone you lead?
How are you going above and beyond the expectations of those you lead?

Don’t you want Grace extended to you? My marriage wouldn’t be what it is if my wife and I didn’t exchange Grace regularly. My relationship with my children…same thing. My team at work, ditto.

Now, before someone comments that, “but sometimes you don’t have a choice. As a leader a time will come when you have to fire someone.” True. But do it with Grace. Make sure you really know the whole story first. I’ve never fired anyone who was surprised. Everyone is gifted and capable at doing the right work, But if you judge a tree for it’s ability to have empathy and walk with an upset costumer towards a resolution, you’ll end up with the a big pile of wood chips and no oxygen.


Hand Out Jelly Donuts Every Day


  • Look for new ways to develop the skills of your team.
  • React to screw ups by working with them to fix it.
  • Overreact to right decisions and under-react to mistakes.
  • Get out of your office every day and be present with your team.
  • When you think you have given enough, you have almost started giving enough.
  • Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
  • Create a great environment by getting the wrong people off the team.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?


  • Consider a situation you are facing. What will the jelly donut look like?


Question: What other tips do you have to lead with Grace? Where do you disagree with me in this analogy of Leadership? What do you believe the key ring is?  I’d appreciate your thoughts, please comment. 



Free New eWorkbook Available; Write Your Life


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,
* Singles,
* Parents,
* Those Hoping to be Parents,
* Grandparents,
* 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.  


Welcome Jackie Bledsoe Jr. Readers


Thanks for jumping over to my site from my guest post on

My guest post on

My guest post on

My goal is to inspire Christ-centered Meaningful Marriages, Proactive Parenting Family Fun and Workplace Leadership.  Here are some suggested post related to those four topics.

I’d appreciate the opportunity to connect with you at

Some Suggested Post For You






Thank you for reading my post on Jackie’s blog and for touring my site.


Have a successful day!



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