This is not for children…but this is for anyone who has ever told their children, “No seconds on dessert – we want to be healthy eaters,” and as soon as they went to bed, went back and helped themselves to a second serving of mocha chunk ice cream. I know many of these people and full disclosure—I am one of them. Or was—until my daughter called me out on my behavior.
Over the course of my life I have been called many things: daughter, wife, mom, friend, sister, funny, smart….but never, ever a hypocrite. But that was what my daughter called me when she connected the dots between what I say and what I actually do. The conversation I had with my teenage daughter was eye opening. If values are defined as a belief that is supported by actions, what were my actions saying about me?
A life well lived—including a few careers, a marriage, two children, hundreds of soccer games and Girl Scout meetings along the way may have left the crystal clear values of an idealistic 20 something year-old a little dusty. What exactly are my values today? When was the last time I really asked myself that question, let alone took the the time to answer it. Had my values shifted? When did I stop thinking about them and start reacting to whatever “crisis” was next in line? When did it become easier to “put out fires” instead of creating a way of life where they rarely happened? How did I get to the point where it was just easier to “write the check” than to really know who I was writing the check to?
I know I am not alone. Life can be incredibly busy, hectic, over-scheduled and over-whelming. I am not a bad person and I do have values and really good intentions. But somewhere between those really good intentions and work demands, sports schedules, grocery shopping and laundry, something goes awry. I also know the look my daughter gave me when she connected the dots between what I say I value and what I do. I never want to experience that look again. I wouldn’t wish that look on any parent.
A friend, a comrade-in-arms of sorts, shared a blog post from bestselling authors Jackie and Kevin Freiberg, called Leaders as Value Shapers with me that’s been invaluable. It’s served as a tool that’s helped me find my true north again—back to defining and being faithful to my values and living a life that is intentional. It’s written with a focus on business leaders but let’s be honest with each other—we are all CEOs of our families, households and our lives. I am the leader in my children’s eyes.
Jackie and Kevin ask some truly thought provoking questions that get at the heart of being faithful to your values and living an intentional life. Questions like: How do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? What do you reward and punish? They share how having a strong value system creates enormous strength and provides guidance in times of crisis. I wish I had more of this earlier. These three questions in particular really hit home as critical areas where I could make a difference and feel like I am living out my values – really taking action. I’ll be diving deeper into each of them in the future posts.
Until then, I encourage you to head over to Jackie and Kevin’s website and read the post. You may even want to get yourself a bowl of ice cream before you do because it may just change the way you eat it after!