Valuing and Evaluating Your Values

There is this funny story that I want to start this blog off with. A newlywed couple is arguing about how to make their Easter ham. The husband says that in order to have the juiciest ham you need to cut the ends off. The wife says that ridiculous and asks why he believes that. He says he doesn’t know the science, but his mom always did it that way and you don’t mess with perfection. As you can imagine the wife was unable or unwilling to put it down, so she called her mother-in-law. She had the same conversation. Mom has no idea why, but her mother always did it that way and although it wasn’t part of the recipe, it was the secret step. Determined to get an answer the wife called Grandma Mable. “Grandma Mable, why in the world does cutting the ends off the Easter ham make it taste better?” Grandma Mable answered, “Oh honey, it doesn’t make it taste any better. It’s just the only way it fits in my oven.”

The reason I bring up this quaint story is that we all have beliefs that have derived from our ancestors or from other unknown sources. They ring true when we hear them or there is no reason to doubt their validity and they become part of our belief system. They are destined to be passed down from generation to generation until someone puts them in a spotlight.

Changing needs in society can certainly put our belief system up to the test. If you get enough people believing in something, then you may experience a sort of “peer pressure”. Families follow the norm. If you think about it many, if not most, families have heard stories of how their grandparents experienced discipline. Children were to be seen, but not heard. Teachers used rulers on knuckles to punish or put the unruly child in a corner with a dunce hat. Socially this wasn’t considered abuse. Emotionally these children grew up wanting their children to have it better than they did. Spanking is acceptable, but punishment by anyone other than the parents is not. Even when Nancy Reagan started her campaign stating that it “takes a village to raise a child”, parents did not relinquish the reins. Labeling became a big thing as parents got more involved in their child’s behavior at school. Should a child take a sort of “speed” to become more attentive in class? It’s the families, more specifically the children, that have to make the changes. Not the educational system.

When you look at the belief system today as a whole, it’s a long way from rulers and dunce hats. More families are home-schooling, and teachers are on constant guard regarding how they manage their classrooms. In fact, they can get fired for not reporting alleged abuse. At home, spankings can lead to government involvement including the removal of a child from their home.

I realize this is a very quick look at history, but I can’t wait to see what’s next. For now, can you see how a family’s belief system is impacted by the experiences of family members before them? Can you also see some examples of how society puts their two cents in?

We are all following suit. I doubt I will see any teachers marching to capitol hill to fight for their right to use rulers any way they see fit. I do, however, wonder how many of us stop and take a look at our values. Particularly those around parenting. It would be interesting to see how many parents are just happy to go with the flow and feel confident in their intuition vs. how many parents evaluate their beliefs and are open to change based on a fresh set of choices. Using the example from the beginning of this blog, I wonder how many newlywed couples sit down and have a loving debate on family values. If the wife wasn’t determined to unravel the mystery of the pre-carved ham her children would have undoubtedly continued the tale that it just makes it taste better.

I’m including a link to a questionnaire to help with values clarification. If you care to share your answers or have a chat about them, you can schedule a consultation. There is never a charge for the first one. The link will be below. I would be a sort of experienced sounding board. The discussions I have enrich my life as well. In fact, my own values

I’ve also added a quick video on some common parenting myths. I have fun making them, so just humor me! Feel free to add your comments, experiences, or ideas.

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