Approximately one million years ago when we dedicated Elliott at church, they asked us to put something together about how we were going to raise him. Honestly, it was so long ago that I can’t remember exactly what the assignment was, but I do remember what we did, and recently we printed it out and put it in our napkin holder as a reminder to our kids.
It’s fun seeing this illustration of our family values after all these years, because even though we haven’t had it right in front of us, it’s exactly what we’ve been instilling into our kids. At least it’s what we’re trying to instill in our kids, somewhere in the midst of the giant gas clouds.
God is the center, the palm, from which all the fingers shoot out. Everything comes from him. He is our base.
Creativity – Dreams – Effort
Big Ideas is the thumb. You can’t do anything without big ideas. Big ideas grasp us and we use them to hook onto things. We want to teach our kids to dream big, to go wild with creativity, and to work hard and give it their best effort.
Gifts – Stuff – Earth
Stewardship is the pointer finger. We want to be good stewards, good caretakers, of our gifts, our stuff, and the earth. We use our pointer fingers both to point at things and also to beckon people to come closer. We point our stewardship out into the world, and taking good care of the things that have been entrusted to us beckons people in and builds trust.
The Truth – The Why – Feelings
I mean, c’mon, it’s the middle finger. How we choose to communicate with each other is everything. We can use our communication for good or evil. We want to communicate the truth, we want to effectively communicate why we do what we do, and we want to communicate and respect each other’s feelings.
At Ourselves – At Life – As a Family
Laughter is the ring finger, the relationship finger. Our marriage is predicated on laughter, and laughter is linked to the communication and respect fingers on either side of it. We want to teach our kids to laugh at themselves, at whatever life throws at them, and to laugh together as a family.
Parents – Others – Ourselves
The pinky. It’s small and it’s fragile and we have to tend to it and take care of it. Respect is easily damaged. We want to teach respect for parents, respect for others, and respect for ourselves.
What’s your family hand? It might be totally different than ours. You can trace your hand on a piece of paper and write your values on the fingers in magic marker and tape it to your mirror. What’s your core? What makes your family go ’round? When your kids are ginormous tweenish people sitting around your dinner table, what are you hoping will stick? What are you modeling as important?