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Family Values Vs. Political Values

How might we think about family values vs. political values? The two topics are interrelated and both speak to the core of how we think, feel, and act, but is there a way to keep a healthy perspective on both as they relate to one another?


Consider first the sphere of people influenced by each set of values. Family values reflect everything most important to us as members of a relatively small group of people. Our parents, children, grandchildren, and some extended family members. As we define and live by a set of values within our family group, our relationships and family experiences are shaped. Generationally, as we pass along our values, the goal is to maintain and even improve the relationship experience we share with those we care most about.

Political values, on the other hand, develop as a result of our family values combined with our greater experience in community with others, education, special interests, and perspective on the larger community from local to global. One set of values informs the other, then circles back to continue to influence our family values.

While these values are based on a broader human experience, they are definitely intertwined and a healthy perspective on both will be evidenced by consistency in how we live out both our personal and public life. An example might best illustrate this point.

Let’s say, for example, that for the Smith family, stewardship of their family resources, both financial and physical, is a strong family value. The Smiths pay bills, save money and invest carefully. They take care of physical assets like their home, cars, and household goods in an effort to make assets last and avoid waste. The reflection of this family in the political realm might be a conservative view toward government spending and a desire to care for public buildings and lands in such a way as to make them last for future generations to enjoy.

Consistency between our family and political values would often look like the example above. A time for reflection and reevaluation might be called for when we find ourselves in conflict over how we live and what we value at home and how we live in the public square. Do the values we reflect in each area make sense given our personal vs. public life?

Integrity, authenticity, and consistency are characteristics that would flow easily from aligning our values. When values aren’t aligned, the opportunity for both personal internal conflict and double standards becomes much higher.

In our troubled political times, many of us are evaluating where we stand on issues in the public square. Understanding that values flow across both the personal and public areas of our life helps us to find the alignment that not only brings personal peace but also allows us to defend our values without hypocrisy.


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