During the season of the holidays, and as we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, many of us take the time to reflect and ponder what we are leaving behind, and how we will change going forward.
There are many things I’d rather leave behind in this year, and many ways I’d like to see life improve in the next. However, we all really know that the ball drop and the turn of the clock and calendar is really just a human invention. Nothing really changes except our mindset. Yes, I have new goals and plans tied to a “new year” but this New Year’s, I want to think about going forward a little differently.
Into the New Year…
This time, I want to keep in mind the things that I’m bringing with me: the lessons I’ve learned, the values that have been instilled in me, that I want to hold onto going forward.
I’ve grown a lot as a person and an individual this past year, but my family has also grown as well. I have learned lessons from them this year, and in years past – lessons that I want to remember to instill in my children.
So, here a six values I have learned from my family that I want to carry with me into the new year, and the years to come.
The Value of Time
My father, Todd, often speaks like a sage. He is a man of wisdom, yet a man of few words, especially when giving advice. I have learned a lot from him. He has often said simply:
“You have 24 hours in a day.”
Generally he leaves it at that – and we know what he means: use those 24 hours wisely. He and my mother, Laurie, have come to live their lives in somewhat of a rhythm. I have a very different personality and lifestyle from my parents, but there are lessons I can glean from this piece of advice and the ways I see them put it to use in their lives. Use your days, hours, and minutes, wisely. Make each moment count.
The Value of Work
Another value my parents instilled in me growing up was a good work ethic. My dad has worked the same job nearly all of his adult life, and he has done so faithfully. My mother has been a homemaker – but to think that she has ever been idle, would be wrong. She has worked so hard to raise three children, care for others’ children, serve in the church, and more.
Both my parents raised me to work hard, to work faithfully and with integrity. This could be the reason I found my way to a man with a similar strong work ethic – my husband of eleven years, Ben. I am surrounded by hard workers, and the value of hard work is something I want to be more intentional about in teaching my children.
The Value of Money
My grandmother, Mary, knew the value of money – even a dollar – even a cent. She was a child of the Great Depression, and the scarcity of this time caused her to truly know how much little things were truly worth. I’ve heard that when she was a young woman and single mother, she would walk blocks to the bank to deposit just a few pennies she had found in the couch. And largely because of these values and practices over a lifetime, my grandmother Mary was able to help put me through college.
The Value of Rest
Yes, I’ve been raised in a hard-working family, but my family has also taught me the value of rest. My mother in particular gives so much of herself to others, but she knows the value of self-care and rest. She has learned this largely from her study of Scripture – and she takes the practices of Sabbath to heart.
My mother has taught me that in order to take care of others, you must also take care of yourself. As she has told me, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Rest as needed, rest and recharge… taking care of yourself is important and necessary, too.
The Value of Faith
Faith journeys are both individual and communal. This is something I have learned on my own, but I would not be where I am today in my faith journey if it were not how I was raised, and how I see many in my family live out their own faith. My faith looks different from my parents’ faith, as every generation’s faith looks different than the ones that have gone before.
However, as Christ has taught us: three things remain – faith, hope, and love.
And so in the new year, and beyond, “I will, with God’s help” carry my faith forward, raising my children in Christ’s love, and in the church, as so many have done before me.
The Value of Family
Lastly, I have learned from my family simply: the value of family.
My grandparents Bob and Jackie taught my mother that family comes first. Many friends will come and go, but our family stays. Taking her parents’ advice, my mother taught my siblings and I how to be friends. And to this day, my brother and sister are two of my closest friends.
I have also been blessed to have married into a family that has similar values. My mother-in-law, Deana, has always put her family first, too. With my father-in-law, Pete, they are grandparents to several children, and are extending their love into the next generation.
My family, both my birth family and my in-laws, are my closest friends in this life. Not that our families don’t have our troubles. We have many. But we have learned to stick close to each other through the trials.
I am eternally grateful for my big family – and the lessons and values I have learned from them.
And so to Eliana, Micah, and Silas, my three children: in this new year, and every one to come, I will strive to instill in you the values I have learned from those who have gone before us. I will strive to remember, and strive to ever have a teachable spirit, to continue to learn from those around me. And I pray the same for you.
These are my New Year’s resolutions.