Values2, or the values of values (with my mathematical hat on). Emotions drive motion - what we value influences how we feel. When an emotion is triggered in our brains, our nervous system responds by creating feelings in our bodies (many people refer to these as a "gut feeling") and certain thoughts in our minds. A great deal of our decisions are informed by our emotional responses because that is what emotions are designed to do: to appraise and summarise an experience and inform our actions.
For example, imagine that you are negotiating a contract and begin to get anxious. If something does not feel right, it is your emotional system that is informing you to further evaluate the situation. You may think that the best course of action is to suppress or ignore an intense emotion rather than work it out. But why ignore an emotion that has evolved over thousands of years? Emotions serve a purpose, informing you, the operator of your body, what to do.
Emotions are behind many complex dynamics in business and personal relationships. Since emotions stem from what we value, having an agreed set of values for our school is essential. Recently as a staff we reviewed our values, not only the ones we hold individually but also those we hold for the children in the school.
Following the work undertaken by staff, our values at Yateley Manor are as follows:
They underpin us as a community and help shape the way we behave. I am sure they will not come as a surprise to any person within our community because every day we live them. I wonder how many of our community have considered their own values. It is worth putting some time aside to do so.
What value do you put on love? I am sure it is pretty high on anybody’s list. In 2010 researchers asked a group of 4 to 8-year-olds the meaning of love (www.dailygood.org). Some of their responses are listed below:
- "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." (Rebecca - age 8)
- "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." (Billy – age 4)
- "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." (Danny – age 7)
- "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." (Bobby – age 7)
- "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." (Terri – age 4)
When we hold a set of values within our lives it drives our behaviour. At Yateley Manor, one of the strongest feelings of those who enter the school is that of community; a sense of family. Talking to ex-pupils over the past few years it is evident that it has always been present and continues to be so. That sense of togetherness comes from meaningful and caring relationships between all members of the community, which in turn builds resilience, knowing that it is safe to make mistakes. Collaboration with others will be a fundamental skill for the future as the world continues to become more connected. And essentially, we value happiness – by understanding each and every one of us as individuals.
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobodies are the same but you leave them all over everything you do.” (Elvis Presley)
I just can’t help believing that in life we need more than a good luck charm. We need to surrender to our emotions – it’s now or never. When we feel all shook up, we must not get a fever. Delve way down into your values – spend some time now with a little less conversation and identify what matters to you.