Fostering · Parenting

Values

I have been thinking a lot about values lately. There are things that we assume are universal that are actually just a part of our value system. It is very disruptive when we run into people that don’t hold the same values we do. The thing is, we often don’t recognize that something is a key value until we run into a situation where it isn’t valued!

I have started a new job recently and have found myself enjoying the renewed sense of purpose that comes with having somewhere to go and people who value the skills I offer. The things is, I didn’t realize it was a value.

I have been at home helping raise Foster Kids and running a busy house for the last 2 years. I have had a fair bit of work to do and have enjoyed doing it! I didn’t think I was missing anything by not being employed outside the home. And yet I find myself feeling very pleased about being employed. It has helped me recognize that I value it.

As the fall season is racing by we find ourselves scurrying to get the tasks done before winter sets in. I am thankful that hubby and I both hold the same values when it comes to having our home and yard look nice, and taking good care of our stuff.

It is interesting how the climate we live in shapes some of our values. There is a marked difference between Warm-climate cultures and Cold-climate cultures. If you do a bit of digging you can read about it. Suffice it to say my summary won’t do it justice.

Cold-climate cultures tend to be time aware, task oriented and structured whereas Warm-climate cultures tend to be relationship focused, experience oriented and flexible. If you think about how weather impacts the way we live it makes sense. Now of course these are generalizations, but they hold up fairly well in numerous studies.

We saw some of these differences when we built houses in Mexico for families. We had a job to get done and wanted supplies delivered on time and firm work hours… not the Mexican way! Impromptu games of soccer and a laid back attitude to deadlines were all normal for them. They had different values!

So what happens when people immigrate into a country with a Cold-climate culture from warmer places? A conflict often arises. But the issue isn’t one of moral character but of values.

Too often we make judgments on the character of someone who shows up late or always stops to talk at work, when if the tables were turned they would judge us as uptight and rude for being punctual and task focused.

Our value systems are being challenged as the world becomes more multicultural. That laid back attitude we appreciate so much on our tropical holiday is moving in next door and stepping on the toes of Alberta Work Ethic!

It also invades our personal world as we build relationships with people and discover that things we hold as a high value are not the norm.

We are parenting the Other Mother’s children. She has walked away from her children and most of her family seem okay with the kids being in Foster Care. This flies in the face of the Family Values that I have been raised with. I cannot imagine my family allowing someone to be placed in Foster Care.

My Grandmother used to say that you create your own heaven on earth by having a close family. She worked hard to see that reality and hosted large family gatherings often. As a kid it seemed like every weekend was spent out at the farm and Saturday night dinner was always accompanied by homemade baked beans and freshly made pie produced from her kitchen while the rest of us played.

I realize it probably wasn’t every weekend… and it probably wasn’t as idyllic as the memories I have, but she passed on the value. All of her descendants still try to gather at the farm a couple of times a year and enjoy the blessing that our family is. Family Ties run deep. It’s a core value that I am thankful for.

So I can’t fathom walking away from my kids… or any of the kids in my extended family either.

I struggle to understand the depth of mental illness that would keep a mother away from her children. It hurts my heart. I try not to judge the extended family that won’t step in to help. They are struggling to adapt to this culture too. I love these two that have become part of our family and can’t imagine letting them go! I guess that’s why we are Foster Parents, we have enough family value to share!

It is a beautiful thing to welcome people into our family and let them be a part of what a family can be!

That’s value

In the midst of the mess

Marny

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