I heard someone say once, “A value is an observable behavior.”
Think about what you value. How is that value expressed by what you do?
Think of behavior you’ve observed in someone else. Can you determine the values someone holds based on what he or she does?
Actions reveal what’s important to people. They reveal who we are.
Do you know those little matching quizzes in school? You’re given a group of words to choose from and need to pick the one that matches the description. Here’s a little quiz for you. Good luck!
Choose from the following list to match the value with its observable behavior:
Honesty Deceit Hard Work Laziness Punctuality Tardiness
Compassion Selfishness Generosity Humility
1. I arrive on time because it shows respect to others who are expecting me._____________
2. I feel deep sympathy for others when they experience suffering or hardship and show concern for them through my words and actions. __________________
3. I don’t like to exert energy or effort to do things I need to or things I don’t want to. I give up when it gets hard and sometimes don’t even try. _________________________________
4. I tell people the truth out of respect for them, because they deserve to hear it, and it leads to healthier relationships. ____________________________
5. I tell lies or withhold information when I need to protect my image and try to control what others think about me or the situation I’m in.________________________________
6. I give my work and projects 100% of my effort because doing my best is important to me. I like knowing I did everything I could to do well.______________________________
7. I show up late because I don’t manage my time well and believe what I am currently doing is more important than being somewhere I said I would when I said I would.______________________________
8. I prefer to hold my tongue rather than boast about myself or insist on telling others what I think. I do not have to be right or make my point; another perspective is valuable to me.______________________________
9. I enjoy giving my time and resources to others, investing in other people; liberally, freely, and regularly.____________________
10. I am primarily concerned with my own interests, needs, and schedule regardless of others and consider what is good for me first before I determine how I relate to others.__________________________
We all value something. Those values come from the core of who we are and show up in the story of our life. I think most of us when asked, “What do you value?” would list words that are positive, life-giving, make the world a better place.
We wouldn’t list those we don’t want to admit we hold. I’d never declare tardiness or selfishness as a value, but if I’m honest, when it shows up at any given moment in my life, the people around me could think I do.
At that moment I’m choosing tardiness or selfishness. Why? What I value is respecting others, and thinking of others’ needs.
That is not to say if I value punctuality, I will never be late. Or I will never behave selfishly. I’m human, every day, all day, so I may run late sometimes and selfishness will creep into some of what I do.
We’re not discussing how to become perfect and flawless here. Impossible anyway; perfect isn’t a “thing.” But we do want to pay attention to what’s important to us and make sure that is what our life looks like…consistently, everywhere we go and with everyone, we interact with.
If I am aware of and living by my known values, every moment then reflects who I am and why I do what I do.
When my actions are contrary to that, I can bring myself back into alignment and keep moving forward, to accomplish what is important to me.
What do you value? Does it show up in your life?
Are you building moments that tell the right story about YOU? When you show up, who shows up?
Some encouragement for parents and families
Take some time to talk with your kids about what you think is important and why. They are learning to develop their own values, and in most cases, children are looking to their parents to help them identify and live those out.
Don’t underestimate the influence you have on them. They are watching you and learning from you. They notice how you “show up” and they will likely try to be like you.
They don’t have it figured out yet, so you get to help them. Tell them what’s important to you and explain why it is. Helping them understand this helps them begin to integrate that into their own identity. You get to be both the example and teacher. Enjoy this time with your child as they grow and learn from you!
Align your hearts with the Lord and His ways and let your children see how important that is to you.
Consider what God’s word has to say
Deuteronomy 11:18-21: Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give you…