Posted by Claire Warden on

Some time ago I was buying a particular piece of clothing and I looked at the tag label to see the new abbreviation that Monsoon had adopted to demonstrate the value base of a range of clothing.

I started to ponder the way we live our values and ethics in the way we engage with people, and the way we work with children and our families and friends. My values guide everything I do, they are the framework that allows me to be authentic to what I am as a human being. They allow me to consider the way I live, and I feel that the more closely to our values we live our lives, the truer we feel to ourselves.

When I watch families and read about their experiences, I wonder what they value. I began to list some things that I do value and have valued as a mother of three wonderful children:

  • The still moments of sitting together just being there and in the moment.

  • The memories of being woken up on Christmas morning at 4am to see if 'he' had been.

  • The hugs of my knees from the wobbly toddler.

  • The little boy who covered his whole body with brown paint.

  • The crush as we all sit in the same double bed talking.

  • The meals at the table where we re-connect, commiserate or laugh about the way our days have been.

  • Family cinemas where we make popcorn and pretend tickets.

  • Walks in the winter followed by sitting by the fire.

  • Listening to them bantering, enjoying being together.

  • Rough and tumble play when they were little

When I re-read the list it seems to reflect that I value time and that we as a family tried to fill it with the love and laughter that now gives us memories of how we have lived our lives together, even though our family is now moving geographically. None of the cherished memories involve money, just effort. I saw this poster when I was travelling and loved the idea that families might put this on the wall and begin to see it as a list of the possibilities of experiences that may well start to create family values.

So, what happens when making an effort isn't a value that families hold? Do the quick response and constant gratification that some people seek today affect the connectivity of families? I hear phrases like helicopter parenting, people who don't make time to eat together but in front of the television or in the car on the way to organised amusements and clubs for their children, almost irrespective of age. I wonder then what connected memories they will have if they spend so little quality time together, what will they think about the value of family life and what will the values of their children be?

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