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Determining Your Core Values

A worksheet to help you determine what you believe in.

By Dennis and Barbara Rainey

What do you believe in?

What really matters to you?

What values help govern how you live your life?

What values do you want to pass on to your children?

We find that most people make decisions according to a few “core values.” But many have never taken the time to articulate just what those values are.

If you want to leave a godly legacy, you first must determine what you believe in—what is most important to you. And then you need to evaluate how well you are living according to those values, because your children will learn from your actions and lifestyle more than your words.

For example, if one of your core values is, “My family comes before my job,” and they see you consistently working so many hours that you rarely have time to spend with them, they’ll conclude that your real core value is, “My work is more important than my family.” This project is designed to help you surface what your real core values are.

Complete Part One individually. Then interact with your spouse or with your children in Part Two over your answers and develop a core values list together.

Part One: What are your core values?

Answer the following questions individually:

A. Take some time and list as many values as you can that you would like to pass on to your children. If you need some help, consult the “Core Values List” at the bottom of this article.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

B. Out of this list, designate your top five core values in order of priority:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

C. Reflect on your lifestyle and how you spend your time. How well does your life reflect your core values? Pull out your calendar if it’s handy and see how your schedule reflects your real values. Be specific.

D. How do your mate’s values complement yours as you raise your family? (Be specific. Try to list at least three ways.)

1. 2. 3.

Part Two: Develop a unified list

Interact as a couple:

A. Share your answers from Part One. In what areas do you agree and disagree with each other’s conclusions? Where are you different? Talk about how you need one another for balance.

B. Now develop a unified Top 10 Core Values list (in order of priority):

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

C. From that list, choose the values that you think you would need to consider as you look at different schooling choices. (For example, your desire to pass on a core value of being “helpful” or “caring” may not affect your school choice. But a core value of developing a solid work ethic may influence your decision if you learn that one school choice would not provide your child with the academic challenges he needs.)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

D. Close in prayer, confessing any failures in this area and asking God to enable you to live according to your core values.

Part Three: Develop a plan for installing core values

A. Select one of your Top 10 Core Values. What are you doing right now to model and to teach this value to your children? How well does your life reflect this core value?

C. Write down your thoughts about each child’s personality, behavior style, and various strengths and weaknesses and how this might affect how you teach and model this value to him.

D. What influences outside your home are helping or hindering your children as they learns this value?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

E. What ideas do you have for helping your children live by this core value? Caution: Don’t limit your ideas to discipline or negative reinforcement. Think of proactive ways you as parents can positively instill and reinforce this value.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

F. What are three things you want to start doing this week in order to begin instilling your core values in your children?

BONUS: Core values list

If you have a problem thinking of some core values, the following categories might spark your thinking.

Spiritual values Trust Christ as Savior and Lord Love God with a whole heart and serve Him Childlike faith View life from God’s agenda Trust the Scriptures A broken and contrite heart Tenderhearted Humble Hunger after righteousness Fear (reverence) of God Dependence upon God Forgiving Full of hope Submissive

Civic and cultural values Law-abiding Social-minded Patriotic Convictions about specific issues Sense of Christian ethics

Relational values Respect for others Friendly Gracious Compassionate Merciful Caring Thoughtful Kind Helpful Giving Generous

Moral values What you base your moral choices on Stands on moral issues

Lifestyle values How you spend your time each day Level of emphasis on material things Work ethic Level of emphasis on relationships Mission mindset

Family values Commitment to your mate Level of importance of commitment to each other as a family Level of importance of grandparents and relatives

Personal/development values Personal health convictions Intellectual growth Developing skills and hobbies Cleanliness Discipline

Character values Honest Loving Truthful Faithful Trustworthy Obedient Teachable Tolerant Temperate

Patient Loyal Morally pure Financially ethical

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