My father often said to us as children how important it was to have and live by a set of values. Just like he often said to me, “Jamie, just be yourself” I didn’t understand the importance of what he was talking about. It wasn’t until my mid-adult years, especially as we were raising our two children that the notion of values started to come into focus. I now understand what values are - those uncompromising pillars that make us who we are - what we believe, what we stand for. There are several that I can articulate now. 1. Family. I believe in everything about family - the connections that bind us forever; compassion, empathy, love, and acceptance. 2. Honesty. I believe that however difficult it might be it always best to err on the side of being truthful, regardless of real or perceived consequences. Honesty undergirds trust, and nothing fractures trust more quickly than being less than 100% honest. 3. Integrity. I believe that always adhering to a set of moral and ethical principles can never be compromised. Integrity is a close cousin to honesty with small distinction - ethics. Always follow the rules, do as you say and say as you do. 4. Trust. I believe this is foundational to any relationship, especially those that we hold most dear whether it is a spouse, best friend or favorite co-worker. People need to know that they can count on you, that you are a person of your word. Without trust it’s hard for me to see how relationships can prosper. Lack of trust also breeds doubt, and this can be especially damaging to children if they are not trusted to make decisions and deal with whatever consequences may ensue. 5. Respect. I have often said, at least for me, that I enjoy being loved but what is most important to me is being respected. I strive to earn respect of others by excelling at what I do, whether it’s physical, relational, familial or professional. I don’t believe respect is just granted but rather is a manifestation of your efforts. 6. Happiness. It is something we all need - smiles, jokes, laughter, exhilaration. I profess I haven’t always been happy but it is something I cherish. There have been times I have laughed so hard the oxygen got sucked out of my lungs. It is good to project happiness as it makes connection with others so much easier. It too is good for your health. My greatest hope is that when my time is up that if I leave any legacy to my loved ones they will know without equivocation they are unconditionally loved and foundationally set to live their lives with an uncompromising set of values.