s I stepped out for a morning walk, I heard some shouts from the neighbour’s house. It was a heated argument between my neighbour and his beloved wife.
The husband screamed, “Yes, I called you that, because you have made life so difficult for me!” The wife was quick to retaliate sobbingly, “You will never understand what all I have to put up with. Thankless creature!“
Well, before you jump to conclusions, answer this:
When was the last time you had a quarrel with someone dear to you?
If it happened in the last few weeks, then perhaps you are not any better than my neighbour.
To be honest, neither was I.. until some time back.
Reality is that, when we’re under pressure, we all tend to become such nasty human beings who we otherwise abhor.
We say things we don’t mean. Curse our loved ones and regret later. Apologising later doesn’t help as the harm is usually already done. It’s hard and sometimes impossible to bring back the trust and bond we held earlier.
It’s only during these stressful times or crisis situations that our value system is actually tested. And unfortunately, that’s where we mostly fail.
Why does it happen?
That’s because even though we talk about family values all the time, rarely can we put a finger on it. Even fewer chances that we have it written down, in black and white. The idea itself might sound ridiculous to you.
No wonder then, that we miss the point, act weak or chicken out during the times we need to recall our values the most! After all, when all is going well, there is nothing at stake – we can easily remain respectful, honest and fearless. It is the difficult times which truly tests our character and value system which is built over time.
Not having our “values” on top of mind lets our natural instincts to take over when push comes to shove.
You may agree with me by now that it is important to clearly define family values. The next question is how to do so?
How about taking a cue from the Corporate Core Values. Every organisation’s HR does it’s best in displaying them, replaying them, and celebrating them. It’s done so that people make the decisions in line with the Organisation’s values when the time comes.
I do remember the core values for my employer. It’s likely you remember your’s too! It’s thanks to the several measures that are taken so that employees don’t forget these.
Isn’t it, then, a shameful irony, that although we remember our work values, we don’t even have any personal (family) core values.
Don’t get me wrong. Not for a second am I suggesting to take your work any less seriously. All I am saying is that a disproportionate weight-age is given to our personal lives and relationships which is generally equally, if not more, important to us.
I am proposing for you to create your Family Core Values. It addresses the HOW of whatever you do.
It took me some convincing at home for my family to come on-board with this idea. After that, we had a few family meetings to agree on what we value in our family. Here’s our list:
- Courage over Comfort
- Respect at all times
- Honour ourselves to honour others
- Integrity even when times are tough
Next morning, I put these on my blackboard and began thinking how to make this an easy recall. Before long, I realised that the initials in a certain order make the acronym RICH!
R– Respect at all times
I– Integrity even when times are tough
C– Courage over Comfort
H– Honour ourselves to honour others
That’s how we become a RICH family overnight.
I woke the children to tell them that we won a lottery.. we are now rich! Their little eyes opened with a ‘pop’. When I told them the acronym, they were exhilarated that our little family exercise had made us RICH overnight.
My five year old daughter suggested that we create a poster where we show our family values “RICH” inside a Heart shape and stick it in the play room. That would constantly remind us that we hold these values close to our hearts.
Well, that’s us. This was one of the best steps we have taken in this direction. Of course, we need to keep having displays, replays and celebrate our Family Core Values to reinforce it.
What about you, what is holding you back?
Take some time off and agree on your Family Values. Display them. Practice them. Celebrate them.
Don’t leave it to chance. This will make you RICH! Really really RICH! With something money can’t buy, and with something no one can ever take away.