Have you ever been asked what your personal Core Values are? How about what the Core Values are for your family?
I’ve been familiar with this term for a long time. When I was in professional ministry, living overseas, the organization we worked with had it’s own set of Core Values, and they were beautiful. I loved being committed to them and knowing that we all believed the same thing.
Once we left the “international mission field” though, I thought often about what our family’s Core Values were, and several other questions… What was motivating us to Homeschool (check out Homeschool Part 1- The Decision for more on our motivation to homeschool), what did we believe in? (expect for the obvious answer, “Jesus”), and how would we commit to living our lives as a family and teaching our girls? All big questions!
Thankfully, I was able to spend two days crafting a Life Plan with Rene Clark in Huntington Beach this past summer and it truly helped me see the bigger answers to these lingering questions I’ve had. Alan was a part of my Life Plan as well and as they were developed we really had our family in mind.
- Rest– we are learning how to keep company with Jesus and how to really rest in him. This doesn’t mean I won’t work. We’ve found ourselves very fulfilled in what the Lord has provided for us and done through our family, but learning the grace of rest in Him has been our number one value in our transition and as we do life as a family. Check out How I am learning to recover my life for more on this verse and how it’s transformed us!
Matthew 11: 28-30 (message translation
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
- Kindness– about a year ago, I had the word “chesed” tattooed on my arm to remind me of God’s Covenantal Kindness with his people. It’s a Hebrew word often translated as Loving-Kindness and is used to describe the kind of Love God had for the people of Israel- you know, the ones who doubted, mistrusted, walked away, turned their backs and ended up wandering for 40 years in the desert as a result- yeah those people, God loved them so, and he loves us so. His grace and mercy and loving-kindness is so tender for his children. It’s a value we have to continually do our best to treat ourselves kindly, tenderly and to treat one another this way as well.
- Caring for One Another
Philippians 2:3 Message Translation
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
- Missional Living– Seeking to engage our local (non-believer) and global community with the Gospel. A huge part of our ministry in the Dominican was teaching young men who didn’t know Jesus how to know him and how to be men of integrity who lived their lives according to the Gospel and to many North-Americans to wake up and see the hurting world around them. Now that we are stateside again, we are really looking forward to engaging in local ministry and global missions as well and of course, it’s a family affair so all the Perez girls learn, participate, serve, and love alongside of us. This is actually something I’ve grown super passionate about in recent years and even months- our kids must be taught service and mission at the youngest age. It must be a part of their DNA and our family’s DNA if they are truly to live out the Gospel mission with their lives!
- Fun & Laughter & Joy! Another tattoo I got last summer was the word “Joy” from Nehemiah 6:8- “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” We’ve gone through many trials and obstacles these past few years in our family and as James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So how do we respond when things get difficult- we laugh, we say “we can do hard things,” we pray, and we remind each other to consider this joy because we know it is producing perseverance. We also truly try to just enJOY life and to laugh, to not take ourselves to seriously. I’ll admit, this can be hard for me as someone who has spend my whole life feeling like I needed to prove myself and always wanted everyone to me so damn seriously. Honestly, throwing off this old, heavy way of thinking/living has been so freeing! So light and free!
That’s it! Our Core Values. The feelings, values and practices in the core of who we are that we are striving to live out, and it’s what I desire to teach our girls throughout our homeschool journey. We have days, where it’s heavy “traditional schooling,” but man do I love those days where we are forced to stop for some character development and pointing each other to Jesus, praying for one another. Amelia is a fast learner. Stella is super smart, but she works at a slower pace than her sister. Just today I got to see a conversation happen between my daughters. Amelia typically finishes ahead of Stella. She is a fast worker. Stella is super smart, but she takes longer to do… everything. When Amelia finished her math before her sister, Stella asked her, somewhat disappointedly why she always finishes faster, and to that, my sweet Amelia told her that she thought Stella was so smart and was doing a great job concentrating to get her math right. She totally encouraged her sister to keep on going and to not lose heart.
It’s so important to me that these little ones not only grow up to know and love Christ and to serve others as an overflow of their love, but that it’s first developed, practiced and known here in the heart of our family, and this is why we homeschool and it’s such a beautiful gift he has given me as a mother to be able to shepherd the hearts of my little ones who are rapidly growing up before my eyes.
What Core Values does your family practice?