3 Important Values I Want My Children To Live With

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Being a parent is no easy task. That's not exactly rocket science, I know! Between academics, personal character, honest living, raising them to be productive, and teaching social cues, where do we even begin? The pressure can be overwhelming at times. However, I believe it all boils down to 3 important values.

I don’t care if my children are good at sports. There, I said it. This may cause some to balk. Even in my own city. In fact, we live in a sports-crazed city where it seems that nearly every child is wearing shoulder pads or shin-guards by the time they’re 5. Sometimes that brings a bit of pressure. But, I don’t feel it. Heck, there’s even a brand new youth sports complex 5 minutes from my house that’s billed as one of the best in the country. I’m not phased though.

It’s not that I’m against sports. I love football and I grew up loving and following baseball. Every Saturday you’ll find me glued to my TV rooting for THE Ohio State Buckeyes. I expect my children to be a fan of the same teams I’m a fan of! (slightly kidding). If one of my sons or daughters suddenly had a hankering to play sports, we’d let them, providing it didn’t break the bank!

If I’m honest, I also don’t care if my children are straight A students in school. Sure I want them to work hard and do well in school, and I expect them to graduate on time, but straight A’s? The top colleges knocking on my door? Doesn’t really matter to me.

Do you want to know what does matter to me when it comes to my children?


I want my children to grow up with values. But, not just any values. What I believe to be the most important values that any person can grow up knowing and applying to their life. I’m talking about something that money can’t buy, sports can’t teach, and academics can’t grade. I’m talking about love, generosity and servanthood.

Love Unconditionally.

By far the most important value I want my children to grow up with is a genuine love for others. Love that’s unconditional, with no strings attached. Love is powerful. Love can change the heart and it can change a person’s life.

Love brings hope to hopeless places and it brings light where there once was darkness. I pray that my children will look at all human beings with a deep respect and an unconditional love simply because they are human.

Give Extravagantly.

My wife and I are extremely generous people. We love to give. We believe in giving our waiters and waitresses big tips. We feel called to give to causes we believe in. It fills us up to be able to bless people who have less. We talk about this openly in front of our children. When they ask us questions about tithing to our church or sending money to a missionary we are honest and tell them why we do these things.

Life is too short to live life with a closed hand. This world tends to turn a cold, selfish shoulder to those who are less fortunate. The way to live a complete life, in our opinion, is to give most of it away. We do this publicly in front of our children because we want them to learn this value and live it out in their own lives as adults someday.

Serve Whole-Heartedly.

Wherever my children go in life, whoever they become, or whatever they choose to do, I want them to learn the value of serving others. I hope and pray they choose to use some of their free time to serve whole-heartedly.

One of the biggest blessings of no longer working full time at a church is that we have a lot of time to do this on a regular basis.

But, What About….?

I know what some of you are thinking. What about integrity, honest living, social productivity, character, etc etc etc.?

Do you want to know something else I firmly believe about love, generosity and servanthood? They’re umbrellas. That’s right, umbrellas. What I mean by this, is that if my children can learn these 3 values, and really apply them to their lives, they cover the rest. Another way to look at it is that living by love, generosity, and servanthood causes  integrity, honesty and productivity to fall into place in one’s life.

In fact, I don’t think a person can really love others and be a person who lives without integrity. I don’t think dishonesty can exist if a person is really generous. You may disagree with me, but at the very heart of love, servanthood and giving there’s integrity, honesty and right living. These three important values breed strong character.

It All Comes Down To This.

At the end of the day I don’t care about my children’s life accomplishments. I mean, I do and I will be proud of each of them. I’m already more proud than I could ever be of each of my children. But what I will be proudest of, is their genuine heart for others. I pray they grow up to have hearts of generosity and hearts for serving others. In a lot of ways, they already have both and it’s so encouraging to us.

I’ve ended posts like this before by pointing this all back to me. This post is no different. If I expect my children to grow up to love others unconditionally, give extravagantly, and serve with all of their hearts, I’ve got to model all of this in my own life. They will learn from me, and my wife. The world teaches the opposite. We have to teach these values to them.

It’s pressure for sure, but I don’t mind this because it’s good for me personally. We are both far from perfect when it comes to these three values but we continually believe in their transforming power. What about you?

What are you teaching your children? What do you need to start teaching them?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.