Belonging It is important that each member of the family feel that they are loved, that they belong and that they matter. Being a cohesive family could mean that you spend every spare minute together doing family activities but keep in mind that everyone is different. Creating a strong family unit is great but each person should be allowed the space and freedom to explore the activities they think they may enjoy. People are more courageous and more willing to take chances if they know they have a safe place to come back to when things don’t quite work out. Coming together for special occasions and holidays and just spending time together as a family is what helps build that sense of belonging.
2. Flexibility The more flexibility you have in decision making, for example, the happier your family will be for it. Imagine one member of the family always thinking they are right and enforcing their way of doing things. This certainly wouldn’t lead to much happiness within the family unit. 3. Respect This is a bit more difficult for a family, to respect each other is to take feelings, thoughts, needs, and preferences in to account. It also means acknowledging and valuing everyone’s thoughts, feelings and contributions to the family as a whole. Respect is indeed earned and there is a very fine line between it and fear. The only way to earn and keep someone’s respect is to first show them to respect yourself. Respect is an important family value which will extend out of the home and into school, work or other social settings. 4. Honesty This is the foundation of any relationship that is meant to last. Without honesty a deeper connection will not form and certainly won’t last. Encourage honesty by practicing understanding and respect when someone tells you of their wrong doings. If we lose it and get angry when we’re told what has happened the other person will be more likely to hide it from you next time simply to avoid the disrespect. 5. Forgiveness Forgiving people who have wronged you is an important choice to make. Keep in mind that everyone makes mistakes, we all occasionally say things we wish we hadn’t and non of us are perfect. Refer to value 3 communication. Get issues out in the open, gain some understanding and move on. Life is too short. 6. Generosity Giving without thinking is an important value for anyone wanting to be a responsible, contributing member to society. Through generosity we build empathy since we tend to think more about what people want or need. Being generous doesn’t mean simply handing over money to someone in need. It can also include giving your time, love, attention or even some of your possessions. 7. Curiosity Children have a natural curiosity. If you’ve ever watched a toddler even for a couple of minutes you’d see that quality shine through. For some that curiosity wanes. I think it’s important to encourage and push our kids and even ourselves to be curious about things. Rarely should we ever just take someone’s word for it. How do we spark our curiosity? Ask questions. Lots of them. Read about a topic you know very little about and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. Critical thinking is an important skill that can be learned and developed through exploring your own curiosity. 8. Communication Communication is as much an art as it is a science. A failure to communicate will likely lead to unhappiness and misunderstandings. Small issues grow into larger ones and when they eventually boil to the surface it’s unlikely they will be resolved calmly. Communication is a lot more than simply speaking your mind. In addition to spoken words, communication also extends to tone, volume, expression, eye contact, body language and effective listening. 9. Responsibility Responsibility is something that is learned. As a child you may have been shown how to put your toys away after playing, how to tidy your room or how and when to feed the dog. This sense of responsibility extends well into adulthood. An adult who has an intrinsic sense of responsibility doesn’t require a lot of prodding to show up to work on time, return phone calls or meet deadlines. Setting out individual responsibilities for family members works to instil this quality in everyone. 10. Traditions Traditions are what make a family unique, they draw people together and create a sense of belonging for everyone. Traditions don’t need to be expensive, elaborate or a lot of work. It can be something as simple as a lazy Saturday sipping coffee.