Photo of a child hugging their mother. Text reads, “Core Values. January 2, 2022.”

Core Values​

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past and think about how you want to evolve in the future. This COULD mean not planning for the year to come and practicing present awareness and connection. I like to use this time for personal reflection and how I want to live with purpose. 

My core values are family, service, and compassion. These values help me prioritize my life in a way that feels a little more purposeful. 

Here’s an kids are begging for my attention and I am distracted by work emails. I am trying to be productive and responsive. My kids start getting louder and louder and then start fighting.  Remembering that my first value is FAMILY, I am able to see this pull of attention and prioritize my children (for now) and get to my email later. We all feel more connected and energy deescalates. 

Core Values Exercise

I did a core value exercise in a training run by the Compassion Institute that was so helpful and something I still reflect on, so I thought it would be fitting for this week’s blog. 

Life in Thirds

  • Step 1: Think about the first 1/3 of your life. Set a timer for 3 minutes and write (or share with your partner/friend) about this part of your life. Try not to think too much, just write/talk freely. When the timer goes off, stop. If you are doing this with a partner, they can make a few notes and just listen, no responding or reacting. 
  • Step 2: Repeat step 1 for the next 1/3 of your life. Repeat again for the last 1/3 of your life so far. 
  • Step 3: If you were writing, look back and use this information to develop 1-2 values for each third of your life that you described. If you shared with a partner, have them repeat to you what they heard to stand out as most important, helping you to develop a core value for each part of your life. 
  • Step 4: Make a list of these values and put them in a place you will see them every day, for one week. Look at them and think about how they fit into your daily life, and how you might want to edit them over the course of the week. 
  • Step 5: Develop 3-5 core values and use them to guide your daily decision-making. Keep in mind, core values change as we evolve. I like keeping mine in my eyesight every day and staying open to life circumstances that may lead to adding or taking away from the list. 

Having these daily reminders of what is most important to us as individuals, can help bring a little bit of light, even on the hardest days. 

This week, use the practice to figure out your core values. Write them down and put them near your kitchen sink so you can be reminded of what is most important to you every day. Looking for family resilience, check out our kits!



This week’s practice: 

  1. Take 10 minutes to journal about your values. Don’t overthink it, just free write about what is most important to you. 
  2. Take a look at what you wrote and choose 3-5 core values.
  3. Write these values on a piece of paper and put them on your bathroom mirror, near the kitchen sink, or on your desk. 
  4. Every day you will be reminded of these values and it can help you prioritize how you spend your time. 
In the classroom & at home: 
  1. Have your kids and/or students write or draw all of the things that make them the happiest. Give them time to get as many on paper as they can think of. 
  2. Take time in partner groups to share, each having 2 minutes to share while the other person ONLY LISTENS. 
  3. Have the listener reflect on what they heard to be the most important to their partner. 
  4. Give the children 2 minutes to narrow down their list or drawings to 3-5, eliminating things that might be special, but wouldn't be a core value (Example: playing online video games might be a favorite thing but isn’t a value. Depending on what they most like about it, the value could be FRIENDS, PLAY, PROBLEM-SOLVING, etc.)

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