Identifying and Prioritizing Core Values (April, 2024)

Surprising yet true that we stay oblivious to our true nature and motivations. But, when we question our choices, and then genuinely ask oneself the reasons behind those choices in an iterative fashion, we start to get close to our core values. Even though it is not an easy exercise, and if anything, it is truly an uncomfortable one, identifying and owning one’s own core values is essential in building confidence in one’s own strengths and weaknesses. In the last two months, the hawan kids have been on a self-discovery journey. We are extremely glad to see the efforts kids have put in this arduous exercise. Based on what they shared, a number of values have started to emerge. Let’s go to the next stage of this journey in this month’s assignment: identifying and prioritizing our core values.

Below is a synthesized list of the values that emerged from the kids’ assignments:

Integrity: several kids spoke about having a good feeling when they do something right even if the short-term results are uncomfortable. They prioritize honesty over short-term gains. For example, some said that they would rather risk lower grades than cheating on an exam. The core value behind this behavior is integrity.

Respect: even though kids may not be getting credit for this quality, several kids inadvertently spoke about the feelings of their siblings, friends, parents, and grandparents. This shows a strong element of respect in the core of their thinking.

Responsibility: When kids spoke about college admission or career choices with passion, it underscored a strong sense of responsibility. Somewhere they are preparing themselves to take responsibility for their future self.

Empathy: This was almost a common theme. They included examples like helping their friend who is going through a tough time, offering a listening ear to someone in pain, showing compassion towards animals, and understanding others.

Teamwork: whether it was the example of team sports, group projects, or debate teams, a large number of kids showed keen appreciation for activities involving teamwork. When cultivated, it leads one to becoming a model citizen who respects everyone’s contributions and builds cooperative and harmonious societies.

Innovation: Some kids talked about the fun they get out of solving math problems, experimenting in science labs, or writing programs for challenging tasks. It shows that they are innovative thinkers who are seeking new solutions to problems.

Excellence: Even though only a few kids talked explicitly about excellence as key motivation, underlying their passion and goals was a deep rooted desire for excellence. They wish to not only do better but also excel in their favorite fields.

Authenticity: I am also proud to say that none of the kids’ goals, desires, or aspirations had any figment of pretentiousness. In fact, the honesty with which they shared their thoughts and feelings gives all of us pride and hope.

The above values are just some of the common themes from the responses kids shared in the last two months. It is possible that this list misses out on specific values that a kid values. I will encourage kids to include them in their own list.

As a part of this month’s assignment, kids will pick the top three values that resonated with most of their responses from the last two assignments. Kids will then write a paragraph on each of those values (that is, a total of three paragraphs), covering the following aspects:

  • Definition of the value (not a textbook definition – rather, what its meaning is for them)
  • How their behavior and lifestyle aligns with this value
  • What impact this value has on their decision making
  • How this value has evolved over period
  • Share a real-life example of this value in action

As always, we are looking forward to the hawan kids’ wonderful interpretations and insights. We are proud of our kids!

Harsh Mendiratta