Forming Values Throughout Life

I sorted through some files last week and found a document I posted on my bulletin board in every office I had for my entire work life.  This document titled “Values for Students and Professional Leaders” is from a 1993 academic journal.  I find it interesting that 25 years later the values continue to be applicable today as desired outcomes of education and for society.  The values document was a “clip and save” page included in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association journal.  

Prior blogs, July 2019, and October 2019, I wrote about the connection of the academic/co-curricular experience for student learning and development.  It is passe’ to not think there is educational value to all aspects of life and that learning takes place beyond the traditional classroom setting.  Sociability, transmission of and adherence to values, and enhancement of self-identity are a few points that stand out when I think about the effect of the thoughtful integration of the academic/co-curricular experiences on student development. Learning products include development of sportsmanship, adjustment, and modification of reactions to others and their ideas, commitment to development of skills and abilities, and mental adjustments made through success and failure. 

Chickering (1976, 1993) defines experiential learning as the learning that occurs when changes in judgements, feelings, knowledge, and skills result from active engagement in life.  Kerner (2018) cites advantages of experiential learning include:

  • Ability to immediately apply knowledge
  • Access to real-time coaching
  • Promotion of teamwork and communication skills
  • Development of reflective practice habits

Mercer (2019) writes about upholding values today.  She shares a perspective that society needs more empathy, respect, love, loyalty, and honesty.

Empathy – Empathy is defined as understanding and sharing the feelings of another. People need to understand who others are and accept who they are.  Focusing on how we can grow together should be our ultimate goal.

Respect – Mutual respect is needed for all of us. This is what makes us human. Having respect for everyone, despite the differences between us, is vital in order for a society to function well.

Love – Having love in our hearts keeps us from feeling the need to harm others. Love helps us acknowledge the similarities we all share rather than the differences of color, religion or sexual orientation.

Loyalty – Loyalty is a value that binds us to a person, thing or sentiment. With loyalty, we do not betray. If we all shared loyalty, it would help us build the strength needed to stand up against something that would harm our society.

Honesty – One form of honesty in society is accepting yourself. With honesty, you can admit your flaws and take the necessary steps to improve yourself. When we can admit to our flaws it can help someone else admit theirs. Ultimately, we can all help each other become better people.

My point is that the integration of academic/co-curricular experiences and active engagement in life creates knowledge and values. Use the twelve values listed above and consider if these are values you uphold.  What experiences (in the classroom, out-of-class experience, living life) reinforce each?   

Take the idea above a step further and consider the three steps below.

Step 1: Creation of your values
**How did you form your values?

Step 2: Identification of your values
**What are your values?  Why do they matter? 

Step 3: Application of your values
How do you…

** define your personal values?
**prioritize your values?
**live your values with integrity?  
**use your values to guide decision-making?
**adapt and change your values when needed?

Dear Dad and Mom

Recognition of Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June is important to acknowledge the individual role each plays in lives of children. We should recognize and celebrate the joint effort of both parents. Senator Trent Lott introduced Congressional Resolution (36 U.S.C. § 135); National Parents’ Day. The law, signed in 1994, states the recognition of the “…uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.”  

As children we didn’t think twice about the things our parents (or caregivers) did on an everyday basis that showed their love. And that’s fine—you were busy being a kid! Plus, while most parents do all they can to help their kids grow into happy adults, from preparing healthy breakfasts before school to being a personal chauffeur for extracurricular activities, they do it out of love, not a desire to be thanked. That’s why it can mean so much if, as an adult, you make sure they know how much you appreciate them. Not only can expressions of gratitude strengthen your relationship with your family, but they can also promote optimism in your own life.
(5 Simple Ways to Show Your Parents Appreciation, 2016)

Since National Parents’ Day is Sunday June 26 and with collaboration from my sister, we would like to thank our parents for their “work”.  There is no time like the present to let our parents know we care.  

Dear Dad and Mom,

We feel proud to have you as our parents and want to let you know we are grateful for your care.  You put us on the path for a great life.  Your effort and guidance kept us on the “straight and narrow”; an honest and moral life.  The values you instill in us continues to guide our growth and development.  Your commitment and support are invaluable. 

We knew we could always count on you and will always be grateful for being our parents.  At times we thought you were “on our back” for no reason but we now realize that you were “watching our back.”  We understand your goal was for us to grow up to be the best we could be, and we now thank you for your diligence. 

It is nice to know that we are, at times, the reason behind your smile…especially when you tell each of us privately that we are the best daughter!!   HAHA!!  If we could choose our parents again, we would choose you.

Several years ago, we gave each of our parents a memory book.  This memory book was a simple list of our memories as a family.  This weekend my sister and I selected some of our favorite memories.  

Me & Sis

Memories of Dad and Mom

  • TALKS ABOUT FORMING THE “JIM DANDY” PAINT COMPANY
  • “RABBIT”…WE STILL WONDER WHY YOU WERE NEVER “IT”.
  • “TOE STOMPERS”…WE STILL WONDER WHY YOU WERE NEVER “IT”.
  • HAND TENNIS WITH TENNIS BALLS WE FOUND
  • HELPING US TO LEARN TO BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE
  • LETTING US KEEP SLEEPY WHEN SHE WALKED UP OUR DRIVEWAY ONE RAINY DAY
  • THE APPLE FESTIVAL
  • REMEMBERING OUR FAVORITE MEALS WHEN WE VISIT
  • COMING TO OUR RESCUE WHEN WE QUIT OUR CORN DETASSLING JOB (REALLY, THE CORN WAS TOO TALL)
  • WRITING SENTENCES – WE STILL HAVE WRITER’S CRAMP BUT AS USUAL EVERYTHING WAS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
  • GOING TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER TO GET CHIPPIE
  • HOMEMADE SOUP
  • FREE GROCERIES ON SUNDAY
  • COUNTRY SHOWS 
  • KEEPING INDIVIDUAL FOLDERS FOR EACH OF US WITH ARTICLES SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO OUR INTERESTS
  • DRIVING BY THE GRADE SCHOOL TO SEE IF WE HAD OUR COATS ON
  • HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TRIP TO CALIFORNIA
  • WAVING GOODBYE TO FROM MCLEAN COUNTY BANK WINDOW
  • WE DUST…YOU CHECK…WE DUST
  • IRONING OUR WORKOUT T-SHIRTS THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL
  • TAKING CARE OF GRANNY
  • NEVER (WELL ALMOST NEVER) ASKING TOO MANY PERSONAL QUESTIONS
  • SENDING LITTLE NOTES OF SUPPORT ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS
  • ALWAYS KNOWING THAT IF WE NEED ANYTHING, WE CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON YOU

My sister and I hope we inspire you
to write a thank-you note to your parents. 

From: wishesmsg.com

Fitness IS a Spiritual Practice

Mavens (2018) defines spiritual practice:

A daily spiritual practice refers to any ritual that we perform each day to nur­ture our deep inner being. A spiritual practice quiets the mind and brings us into a state of peace or harmony with ourselves. A spiritual practice can take many forms—but it is not the form that matters so much as the intent. In fact, a spiritual practice does not even need to be explicitly spiritual to be effective. It simply needs to be something that helps you turn inward and connect with your own truth and purpose.

You do not need to be religious or even spiritual to benefit from develop­ing a spiritual practice. A daily spiritual practice is not about dogma or wor­ship; it is about tuning in to your own sense of spirit.

Life is multi-faceted…it would be difficult, if not impossible, to disconnect the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of life.  There is a relationship of these elements that permeate and integrate with living. For me, physical exercise is a form of spiritual practice that is the catalyst bringing these aspects together. In my blog, Run for My Body, Run for My Soul, and my three-part series on Well-Being: Self Exploration I describe how my running is more than just the physical action of putting one foot in front of the other. Bringing the body and mind together is a form of spiritual practice.

“The older I get, the more I realize there is more to these activities than just the competitiveness I found in the past.  
Improving and enhancing body, mind, and spirit
result from my physical activity.”

“I savor the peacefulness of a light rain and the solitude of my run. 
I have always been grateful for my runs (good, bad, or indifferent).
I have learned through this experience is to be more aware
of the meaning my day-to-day activities.
This awareness will have an influence on uplifting my well-being.”

Movement can be a way to focus on our well-being.  Think about it…exercise is like cross training for life.  The physical aspect of movement is just one of the many outcomes. Movement improves thinking, perspective, and purpose.  When you move you become physically and emotionally healthier. The more you move the more you confident and capable you become.

Scott-Dixon (Precision Nutrition)

Dupue (n.d.) provides reasons why he believes fitness is a form of spiritual practice.

  • You use it for greater happiness and fulfillment.
  • You use your workouts as a time to reflect.
  • You face yourself and grow in more ways than physical.
  • You test your will.
  • Your heart is engaged.
  • You expand your comfort zone.
  • You change your karma.
  • You release emotion and energy.
  • You take a moment a breathe.
  • Your mind quiets down, and you are present.
  • You have mental or emotional breakthroughs.

Here are a few examples of how fitness can be a spiritual practice…you may already engage in some of these suggestions. These rituals, relationships, and reflections through movement, exercise, fitness, working out to enhance your personal growth, your purpose, your engagement in life with self and others.

  • Listen to inspirational music
  • Listen to a book or podcast
  • Listen to the sounds of nature 
  • Mindfully notice your surroundings
  • Mindfully notice how your body feels as it moves
  • Participate with others to stay connected
  • Reflect on what you are grateful for
  • Savor the experience as it is happening and afterwards

Once Learned, Never Forgotten

Our identity development occurs many ways and is an ongoing, lifetime process.  Family culture (norms, values, and beliefs) is part of identity development.  Traditions are how family culture materializes.  Sharing and learning about stories, knowledge, and crafts is often how families pass down the traditions of their history. This sharing creates unity and a sense of belonging resulting in the link between generations.

My friend Polly publishes a blog, Phrog and Munkey.  Her recent blog post, “The Benefits of Crocheting” shares a family story tying directly to Blooms to Blossoms purpose to show that integrating life and learningmakes a difference in personal development. “Crocheting has been a part of my life since I can remember, and it remains something that brings me joy.  My grandmother, my mother, myself, and my children (son included) all crochet.” Companionship, stress relief, creativity, self-esteem are benefits Polly identifies in her story.  I share her blog (with her permission) to encourage you to recognize and remember how generations of family members cross the boundaries of life and learning.

At the heart of every family tradition is
a meaningful experience.  Unknown

The Benefits of Crocheting

As a young girl I wanted to learn how to crochet and I asked my grandmother to teach me.  I was left-handed she was right-handed, we sat facing each other her slowly crocheting and explaining, me listening and trying to mimic her movement.  As she was talking, she began to crochet faster but I was still struggling.  She was right-handed, I was left.  It was like looking into a mirror and trying to copy her process, backward.  Do you remember the Groucho Marx and Lucy routine where she is trying to mimic his movement as if she was in front of a mirror?  This must have looked similar.  I was left-handed, she was right.  This went on for some time her saying “put your needle into the stitch, loop over and pull it back through…” and me trying but failing.  After some time her patience ran thin and she took the needle out of my left hand, remember, I was left handed, and put it in my right, moved around behind me, took my hands in hers and taught me how to crochet.  She loved to crochet and some of the pieces she made were intricate and beautiful.  Some were a little questionable like the bathing suits she made us one summer.  I remember her, her patience, and her artistry every time I pick up a crochet needle. 

This leads me to the first and most important benefit of crocheting, sharing, companionship and time spent with friends, old or new.  Learning to crochet is a challenging process that is tough to teach yourself, so you need a mentor, a friend, a teacher to show you how it is done.  Someone to take your hands in theirs and walk you through the process of weaving yarn together to make something beautiful.

Crocheting relieves stress and anxiety.  Well, maybe not when you are learning how but once you have the automated movements don and your process is instinctual, it is comforting to sit and create.  It is the creativity and repetitive motion that helps you become more relaxed and ease the tension in your thoughts.  

Crocheting builds your self-esteem.  Anyone that is a master crocheter will tell you how fulfilling it is to be able to read a pattern, pick up a needle and some thread and make something that someone is going to love.  When you put that last stitch in and tie your piece off you feel amazing, accomplished and astounded at the sheer process, your ability and the craftsmanship of your work of art.  If that doesn’t build your self-esteem, I don’t know what will.  

Crocheting has been a part of my life since I can remember, and it remains something that brings me joy.  My grandmother, my mother, myself, and my children (son included) all crochet.  One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was placing an afghan that I had made on her lap.  I went to see her one evening at the assisted living home and started to push her down the hall and the afghan on her lap was too long.  She fussed and told me that I needed to make her a short afghan so it wouldn’t get caught under the wheels.  I left there, went straight to the store, bought some yarn, and proceeded to crochet.  When I placed the afghan on her lap she said, “I taught you well.”   That was her way of telling me she was proud of me, that she loved me and thank you all at the same time.  

Stitches bind us together.  

Polly’s afghan

It is interesting how the hobby of crocheting can affect so many lives?

Consider your past, present, and vision for your future as you reflect on ways to thrive and blossom.

Consider your past, present, and vision for your future as you reflect on ways to thrive and blossom.

Consider ways your experiences transfer knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and beliefs from one aspect of your life to another.

How do the pieces fit together to make a whole?

“Traditions touch us,
they connect us, and
they expand us.”  Craig

Phrog and Munkey Enterprises…products are constructed with as much reclaimed wood as possible which allows us the opportunity to protect a small part of the amazing planet we live on. 

More blogs from Polly:

An Old Tractor and a Good Book

A Rooster, a Song and Laughing Out Loud