We sometimes get frustrated with our children because we seem to go over and over the same lessons – they just don’t seem to get it!  I was in a conversation the other day that was an ah’ah moment for me.  We were discussing the differences between virtues (moral truths) and values (how people live out those moral truths.)

We all see moral truths being lived out to a different standard and yet each party would claim they believed in that moral truth.  Eg.  My friend is in a cross-cultural marriage, and she said they both believe in the virtue of Truth.  But, she is from Chinese family where everything is negotiable – including truth.  So though she believes in truth, it is negotiable.  Her husband on the other hand believes truth is truth and there is nothing negotiable about it.  They both believe in the virtue of truth and yet they live it out differently because they place a different value on it.

Ahhh… things started to click in my mind.  Peter and I have these differences too.  We both believe in the virtue of Work, and yet should a friend visit me while I was working, I would stop and visit, and yet Peter would prefer to finish his project and then visit.  We both believe in Work, and yet we place a different value on it.

Ahhhh… things kept ticking in my mind because this directly affects our children.  My children all believe in obedience, they understand it, know it, agree to it.  But one child believes that obedience is negotiable which means they will argue, complain, suggest alternatives but they still believe in obedience.  Another child believes obedience can happen at ‘Kimberley time’, whenever it happens will be okay it at least happens.   This is not my belief about obedience but it is theirs.  Another child of ours believes obedience happens straight away, with no questioning – ahh!  That is my understanding of obedience too.

So here we have everyone believing that obedience is the standard and yet they believe different things about it.  When I started to see this, my role as parent became clearly defined  – we need to not only teach our children virtues that are important to us, we need to teach them our values as well.

The question then needs to be asked – on what standard are your values based?

  • God’s standards? As in how God values these virtues? or
  • The standards of the world around you?

Unfortunately there are many things that God values that society today seems to hold as of very little value.

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 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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