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Shoes Off!

Shoes OffCanadians have a custom which emphatically differentiates them from Americans. We take our shoes off at the door. The Maori people of New Zealand also practice this, but for an entirely different reason. But Americans don’t. And that aggravates Canadians! They may kindly bite their tongue when Americans clomp all over their house, but the irritation remains. (Americans have a different value that persuades them to keep their shoes on!)

I’ve asked many Canucks why they take their shoes off and considerately place them neatly inside the entrance. (Maoris and Africans just step out of their footwear outside the door, leaving any followers to clamber over the heap!) The usual response is: “So I don’t track dirt in from outside.” When I probe further they might add: “Because I was taught to.” but usually they just roll their eyes. That means: “That’s a good enough answer. I can’t be bothered about thinking any more.”

BUT little behavioural things like that (taking shoes off AND rolling eyes!) express values and beliefs. In one of my training courses we identify behaviours so they will lead us to discover values and beliefs. (like layers on an onion.)

  • Behaviour – the social and culturally accepted things that I do.

These are always a response to an inner value.

  • Value – things that are important, that I treasure, or commit to.

These grow from, and are controlled by beliefs.

  • Belief – truth that I think is true and essential to life. Something that I would ‘die for’

These identify foundational reality that is true across all cultures.

Thinking through and identifying my Values and then my Beliefs puts ‘feet’ to my behaviour. It assures that I make good decisions in a crisis or confusing situation. It builds ‘character’ (integrity) and provides self-confidence in what I do.

Most people have never thought through their beliefs and values. We acquire many through osmosis, by just going with the flow. Culture and society become our role model. (Why do you attend church? Why do you wear what you do to a wedding … or a funeral? Why don’t you keep a journal? Why do you cover your mouth when you yawn or use a toothpick?)

My lovely sister asked for clarification on my ‘values / beliefs’ formula of last week. She really likes her kids and grandkids and spends lots of time babysitting them. From observation I illustrate her behaviour in this way:

My behaviour is: I babysit my children and grandchildren a lot

because I value: this opportunity to continue loving, mentoring and investing in their lives

which is based on my foundational belief: that motherhood does not end when my children leave home, and I have a responsibility given to me by God to disciple them throughout my life. (Titus 2)

Some other ideas: (using the Life Dimension Wheel from last week)

I value Family because (belief) it establishes an influential unit for outreach and encouragement; therefore (behaviour) I will look for opportunities to spend time with them to monitor and encourage growth on behalf of each one.

I value Health because (belief) it provides discipline, vigour and a clear mindset; therefore (behaviour) I will schedule regular forms of exercise activity along with good eating habits.


May you be blessed with deep and clear wisdom in spiritual insight and understanding of your Father’s will. (Colossians 1:9) … john


(original post Aug 31 2014)


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