Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 37: FAMILY VALUES

 

Introduction
Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is FAMILY VALUES. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.

All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD! 

Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world.  The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority. 

Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!

Opening Meditation
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:

O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

Announcements
The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.

Opening Thoughts
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.

If you were born into a family you were probably raised according to the values of your family. By definition family values are different from family to family and that might explain why some values are important to one family but less important to another family. For instance one family might instill into their children that there is happiness, health and peace in getting married before engaging in marital activities while another family might place less emphasis on marriage more so if the parent gave birth outside marriage. But if you gave birth without planning for it and outside marriage you know the suffering it entails and it is not just your suffering but also the suffering of the innocent child. You can see from this example that family values will not take us far as a society if our family values place less emphasis on our well being. In order to reduce suffering and unnecessary heartache let us all embrace the family values that bring out the best in us. This presentation will explore some of the family values that enhance our lives now and forever. 

Famous Quotes
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.

1 I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you're going. That's family values. Al Sharpton
2 I come from a large family, but I was not raised with a fortune. Something more was left me, and that was family values. Dikembe Mutombo
3 The lessons I learned from my mother and her friends have guided me through death, birth, loss, love, failure, and achievement, on to a Fulbright scholarship and Harvard Business School. They taught me to believe that anything was possible. They have proven to be the strongest family values I could ever have imagined. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
4 As a bandleader, I try to pass on the same family values that I grew up with: help people, hang on to your sense of humor, be tolerant, and keep your judgments to yourself. Jools Holland
5 Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. Earl Nightingale
6 No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished? Lee Iacocc
7 Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. Kofi Annan
8 The most important thing in the world is family and love. John Wooden
9 Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth. Menachem Begin
10 Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest. Barack Obama
11 Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers. Les Brown
12 I try to live my life like my father lives his. He always takes care of everyone else first. He won't even start eating until he's sure everyone else in the family has started eating. Another thing: My dad never judges me by whether I win or lose. Ben Roethlisberger

Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found. 

1 My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Judaism, Tanakh: Proverbs 6:20
2 To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. Buddha
3 Supporting one's father and mother, cherishing wife and children and a peaceful occupation; this is the greatest blessing. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 262
4  May in this family discipline overcome indiscipline, peace discord, charity miserliness, devotion arrogance, the truth-spoken word the false spoken word which destroys the holy order. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 60.5
5 Natural mildness should be there in the family. Observance of the vows leads to mildness.... Right belief should there be amongst family members. Crookedness and deception cause unhappiness in the family. Straightforwardness and honesty in one's body, speech, and mental activities lead the family to an auspicious path. Purity, reverence, ceaseless pursuit of knowledge, charity, removal of obstacles that threaten equanimity, service to others -- these make the family happy. Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 6.18-24
6 Confucius said, "By nature men are pretty much alike; it is learning and practice that set them apart." Confucianism. Analects 17.2
7  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Christianity, New Testament: Luke 6:35
8 Do not abuse your wife. Women are sacred. If you make your wife suffer, you will die in a short time. Our grandmother, Earth, is a woman, and in abusing your wife you are abusing her. By thus abusing our grandmother, who takes care of us, by your action you will be practically killing yourself. Native American Religions. A Winnebago Father's Precepts
9  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Christianity, New Testament:1 Corinthians 13:4-8
10  When women are honored, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honored, no sacred rite yields rewards. When the female relations live in grief, the family soon wholly perishes; but that family where they are not unhappy ever prospers. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 3.56-57  

Teaching Story
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?

Our teaching story “Thanks, Dad, for Showing Me How Poor We Are” from an unknown author is popular on the Internet. I have embellished it a little just to enhance the teaching.

Once upon a time a father, of a very wealthy family, took his son to the country in order to teach him a lesson on poverty. They spent two days and two nights on the farm of a supposedly poor family. The farm house was quite unlike their mansion: there was only one bathroom with no running water, a bedroom for both of them to sleep on a hard bed, and a small table to eat their meal. They left at the end of their “educational vacation”, and the father asked his son, “How was the trip, son? The son said, It was great, Dad. “Did you see how people lived”, the father asked again.  “Oh, yes”, the son replied. “So what did you learn from the trip”, asked the father again.

The son answered,  " I saw we have one dog and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."  With this the boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

Closing Meditation
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study.  The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.

The teaching story further tells us that values are not only different from family to family but also within the same family. It is ok to have different values as adults because it reflects the way we see things. But for our children it is better to build their lives on time-tested universal spiritual values. In the main family values connote moral and ethical principles in a traditional sense but with many different moral and ethical combinations and permutations in our time we cannot just assume, we need to define what is good for our children. I could simply say that Family Values are universal moral and ethical principles that bind us as a people. Here are 12 Universal Spiritual Family Values by Dr. Sonari:

Universal Spiritual Family Values
1. At the head of our family is LOVE, Universal Love.
2. We Love all creatures without conditions.
3. Our family mission statement is our compass.
4. We give in abundance with joy and love.
5. Our educational goals have no limits.
6. We share our talents through work, art and science.
7. Our daily devotion includes universal spiritual teachings and meditation.
8. We enjoy the fruits of communication and cooperation.
9. Our commitment to wellness improves the quality of our lives.
10 We take yearly family growth classes.
11 Our family time enriches our relationships.
12 We support marital activities only in marriage. Dr. Sonari

In his presentation on the Axial Age for the Teachers Company, Professor Mark Muesse said that he was only told to be good when he was growing up and he assumed that “goodness is an effortless consequence of getting older”.  He found out later that some virtues require cultivation. In the same way these gems cannot manifest in your child’s life by just hanging them on a wall. We need to talk about them; actually we need to talk to them about our family values before they are even born. In this way they will grow up with real values that show the way irrespective of the pressures from the society in which they live.

Donations
You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.

Closing Prayer
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer.

Refreshments
You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program. 

Talent Contribution
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some Awakened Living tips for the benefit of the group. 

The Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.

There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.

Health
1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?

Spirituality
1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

Family
1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

Relationships
1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

Education
1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

Mission
1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

Finances
1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

Work
1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

Play
1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

Personal Development
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

Environment
1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

Creativity
1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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