As young parent I was interested in how others had approached the process, especially from a “been there, done that” experience base. There were several pieces of advice that have stayed with me across the decades since. One of them was easy to say, hard to do. It centered on the idea of keeping the house rules simple but constant.
“Decide on the house rules you want to use. There should be no more than three. Embrace them. Hold onto them. Never let go of them. Do not add to them. Do not take away from them.”
As an adult that had survived traditional boarding schools, I liked the idea. Distill the laundry list of rules into a short, concise list that one could use in any situation. They were not going to be absolute truth rules. They were going to be the points that reflected our agreement on how we were going to treat each other. They applied equally to me as they did to Carli and Whitney.
As I look back, considering what I could change, I would follow this advice without hesitation. From my perspective, the principles of respect (how you treat others), honesty (how you treat others as well as your self), and transparency (willingness to be accountable) were the right ones for our family.
As I consider the challenges of becoming the best service provider in our field, I realize we need a set of core principles. We should be able to hold them without reservation. We should aspire to live them in everything we do, publically and personally. We should be able to grow (change) in the process. The mantras from the family could be a starting point, however there is something that a family presumes that we need to talk about in a work environment.
What is the starting point with each other? I find that some old advice fits today. “The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” (1 John 4.21)
Life begins with God and others.