Not “fun” the concept (although I do like having fun); I mean FUN. the group.  I especially like their song Some Nights.  Although I don’t understand what the song has to do with the Civil War (see the Youtube video) I really find meaning in the line “Oh, Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for.”

It can be difficult to know what you stand for in life. So I encourage you, as a young person, to start thinking about your values and how they connect to how you act, what you pursue, and even what you want to do with your life.  

Here’s an easy way to do it:  check out this website that lists a grouping of values. Pick out the ones that are most meaningful to you and write them down in a list.  I suggest you pick 5 values. Then think about what they mean to you, in your personal life, your student life, and your future life.  download

Here’s an example:  I picked Encouragement as one of my values.  It’s very important to me to feel like people are encouraging me and it’s even more important for me to feel like I’m encouraging other people.  This perspective makes me realize how important it was for me to find a job where I can be encouraging to others and I can expect some positive feedback from them.  This works out pretty well for me since I have a job as a mid-level manager.  I get to encourage my staff members and I get kudos (occasionally) from my boss.  It wouldn’t be a good idea for me to work by myself and have no interaction with either my supervisor or other staff members because receiving and giving encouragement lines up with a value that means a lot to me.

Once you do this exercise, ask your family members to do it too.  Have a discussion at the dinner table about what your values are and how you’re making them important to you in your life.  Think about your values when you participate in activities at school, when you start looking at colleges, and when you think about what you want to do with your life.  And the next time you hear FUN. singing Some Nights, you’ll be able to say exactly what you stand for.

Linda Sandquist

Vice President, United Way of Rock River Valley