The Ladder of Values

Here’s an interesting exercise for you. Take a pen and a paper, write down your list of personal “core values” in order of priority. Revisit your list and make sure you prioritize it in the right order – top item is the most important value in your life, and so on. The list would change over the years, as we progress and age in life, so the order of your personal values when you’re in your 20s is likely to be different to when you’re in your 40s.

Here’s a thought. If you’re between 30 to 50 years old and you got children or planning to have kids, and “Family” is not at the top of your list, this is wrong. Seriously wrong. I would strongly suggest that you revisit your list of priorities and check out what other values have you got there toppling the value of Family. Is it Career? Money? Education? Friends? Hobbies? How come your children are not at the top of the list?

The thing with children and priorities is that there are no good excuses. And pushing them down the list of priorities would have 2 severe impacts. Firstly, there are no second chances as they grow up, time cannot be rewinded, and missed opportunities are lost forever. Secondly, your absence will have a serious effect on your children on the short and long term, their image of a father figure would be lacking and their future relationships and attitude towards family values are likely to be damaged for good.

Raising children is a gift, a blessing, a privilege and an obligation. Make the most of these years, spend time with your kids while they are young and looking forward to spend precious time with you. It won’t last forever you know. There will come the time where their own ladder of values would change without knowing, and they will spend more time with friends or online than with mum and dad. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, do not push back on it, otherwise you will find yourself regretting it for the rest of your life!

Here’s my list, happy to share. Feel free to share yours in the comments below:

Family
Health
Happiness
Partnership
Achievement
Wealth
Pride
Respect
Intimacy
Career

Have I convinced you in any way? Are you going to give it another thought and reorganize your values ladder? If I haven’t done a good enough job, the lyrics of the song below will touch very deep inside your heart. Have a read, prepare the tissues, look at the mirror, make a change.

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Harry Chapin

“Cat’s In The Cradle”

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then