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Finding Commonalities and Solutions With Decision-Makers

Resources for “Identifying Needs & Values” Exercise

Voices for Healthy Kids provides these non-exhaustive lists of common core needs, values and feelings, and example quotes from each archetype to support your practice in the Identifying Needs & Values Exercise.

  • There are fewer than 20 core needs that human beings share. The term, core needs, means that if they’re missing from our lives, we won’t be able to thrive and flourish, reach our optimal potential or feel completely fulfilled.

    When a core need is met, we feel some sort of happiness or relaxation. When a core need isn’t met, we feel some form of unhappiness or unease. It’s very unusual if all our core needs are fully met at any given time. Additionally, each of these main needs has other layers of variation of that particular need underneath it. For example, belonging can include friendship, community, interdependence, collaboration, support and respect.

    Core needs, in no particular order:

    • Belonging

    • Meaning

    • Safety

    • Hope

    • Authenticity

    • Integrity

    • Trust

    • Freedom

    • Challenge     

    • Growth         

    • Purpose

    • Caring

    • Acceptance   

    • Understanding      

    • Love

    • Warmth

    • Connection

  • Our values are not something we’re born with, such as core needs. Values are choices we make based on personality, our beliefs, our cultural environment, and our life circumstances and goals. Adhering to our values keeps us in integrity with ourselves. Our values can change over time, and how we prioritize them can change as well depending on different contexts or situations.

    Values, in no particular order:

    • Appreciation

    • Balance

    • Beauty

    • Boldness

    • Caring

    • Contribution

    • Control

    • Clarity

    • Diligence

    • Directness

    • Efficiency

    • Elegance        

    • Expertise

    • Faith

    • Focus

    • Freedom

    • Intimacy

    • Integrity

    • Joy

    • Knowledge

    • Leadership

    • Loyalty

    • Moderation

    • Nature

    • Nurturing

    • Originality

    • Order

    • Passion

    • Partnership

    • Power

    • Peace

    • Playfulness

    • Quiet

    • Respect

    • Resiliency

    • Risk

    • Security

    • Service

    • Sharing

    • Style

    • Sensuality

    • Success

    • Spirituality

    • Solitude

  • Whether or not our core needs are met can affect how we feel. Identifying and understanding your feelings can lead to more productive conversations.

    Feelings when our needs are getting met, in no particular order:

    • Alert

    • Confident

    • Content

    • Energetic

    • Excited

    • Friendly

    • Happy

    • Healthy

    • Interested

    • Peaceful

    • Relaxed

    • Thankful

    Feelings when our needs are not getting met, in no particular order:

    • Afraid

    • Annoyed

    • Angry

    • Confused

    • Disconnected

    • Disgusted            

    • Disturbed

    • Embarrassed

    • Pained

    • Sad

    • Tense

    • Vulnerable

    • Yearning

  • You can use these quotes from the research interviews conducted for this guide in your preparation. Role-play to practice how to hear the values and needs behind the sentiment, observe how it feels to you, and prepare ahead of time for how to center yourself and respond.

    Church & Country

    “Life is not fair. Life is hard. I’m bound by my faith in my obligations to my fellow man, but I don’t want the government dictating a redistribution of resources. That’s the basis of Marxism. That does not work.” — State representative, male, 48, urban/suburban

    “The good Lord will make it work and you also need to make it work. You sacrifice, you get help from folks, your extended family, your church.” — State representative, male, 60, rural

    Economic Influenced

    “There is an element of personal responsibility that you have to at least acknowledge. Conservatives want self-actualization policies. You need to say that people want to have happy lives and make good decisions, and we can help them do that, but that there also needs to be an element of accountability.” — State director, conservative political organization, male, early 40s, urban

    “A focus on and access to prenatal care is very critical. But I would qualify that. Their choice of prenatal care. A government-prescribed approach to health care does not rank high. Universal preschool is an example of what would be harmful — it can lead to government dependency. The early years should be focused on the family and that family’s choice, whether it be getting vaccinations or attending pre-K.” — Former state representative and state senator, male, 58, suburban

    Legacy Republican

    “Don’t open by saying we disagree. If you start off on the negative it is hard to find the positive. Say, ‘I know you are a proponent of children. What can we do to assist you in creating a better outcome for zero-to-3-year-old kids? Can we offer some suggestions?’’’ And it cannot be let’s throw more money at it. That’s the worst way. Can you give us an extra million dollars? And we don’t know if there will be a ROI.” — State senator, male, 68, rural

    “There is a huge difference between a handout and a helping hand. We want the best for everyone, but that doesn’t come with just a handout. We don’t want to create a cycle of dependency. We want to provide opportunity and access — not just hand things over. We want to create the hope that they can achieve the American dream.” — State GOP activist, male, 42, suburban/urban


    “When I vote on a piece of legislation, I ask myself three questions: Is it constitutional, does it grow government, does it raise taxes? If the answer to the first is yes and to the second two is no, then we can talk.” — State representative, male, 46, suburban

    “I struggle with the solutions. I’m not for more government spending, but you can’t expect people to work if they can’t get care for their kids and we have a labor shortage. So I would say that you need to tie this issue to the labor shortage. The thing that really bothers me is Democrats around here talk about moms taking kids to a child care center. These don’t exist in rural places. They do not exist. It’s a false narrative. There is so much regulation that you can’t start a new one. We need to find a more individual-based solution.” — Executive director, conservative think tank, female, mid-30s, rural

    “I think you have to come into it and say we are not experts. We have opinions and research. Conservatives and libertarians don’t like experts. This whole concept is just disgusting. It is the whole reason we hate government and especially the federal government.” — Executive director, GOP professional association, and school board candidate, male, 34, suburban/urban

  • You can use these quotes from the research interviews conducted for this guide in your preparation. Role-play to practice how to hear the values and needs behind the sentiment, observe how it feels to you, and prepare ahead of time for how to center yourself and respond.

    Church & Country

    “Wasn’t too long ago that a lobbyist for [the] Heart Association came in — did a great job — asked for a tax increase on cigarettes. But when you start talking tax hikes people step back a minute. Is that really going to fix the problem? Maybe? I’m not convinced. I know people who will still smoke regardless of the price, so do you really want to charge them a lot more? I’m sponsoring a bill to repeal the state tax on diapers. A humanistic need. It’s one of the little things that can be done at the state level.” — State representative, Male, 65, rural

    “[Our state] is extremely impoverished. No extra costs, like a plastic bag tax. When it comes to constitutional carry it would be impossible for a local government to overrule that. You would be hard pressed to find a single place where people would support that. I am really hoping that another thing we will do to foster stronger families is paid family leave. That’s really important — we’ve been unsuccessfully working toward it. I think this is really a conservative pro-family position.” — State representative, female, 31, rural/suburban

    Economic Influenced

    “I think it is possible to find common ground in a lot of places. It’s not helpful when people try to virtue signal by the way they approach a subject. Just say, there is a problem with homelessness — yes, we all agree. There are people sleeping on the street and that is bad, yes. We may disagree on the final solution, but let’s at least have the conversation. But that won’t happen if you start with “unhoused” — wait, what? As soon as you say that I realize that you are so different from me. We can find some sort of agreement on certain things within each subject. You can at least have the conversation. But not if you go for the purity within each philosophy. I’m so used to being accused of hating women and children that it almost doesn’t mean anything anymore.” — State representative, male, 57, urban/suburban

    “You can’t have a patchwork of policies and issues that affect the wellbeing of our state and community to get cheap and reliable energy to heat your home just because you want to go green. I supported the Heart Association’s last effort to pass bottle filling stations in schools. When remodeling, schools will have at least one bottle filling station. I also supported increasing [the] tobacco age from 18 to 21.” — State representative, male, 37, rural

    Legacy Republican

    “There is a fine line between helping and enabling. The food bank here is an example — if you feed a hungry dog it is coming back to your doorstep every day — how do we help people learn how to help themselves? There are strict conservative things that come out there like CRT — for some reason people believe the schools are out there to try and train our kids in a certain way to be offensive to the community. I’m not one of those people who believes that. Our teachers live in the community and have our community values. I believe in local control for issues like this. Once you start something like this, where do you stop? I know this will be an issue we have to deal with, but I believe in the least restrictive.” — State representative, male, 71, rural

    “Companies know best what they need to do to attract workers and stay competitive — the government's role is to support companies in getting those jobs filled.” — State representative, male, 31, urban/suburban


    “In my state, you have two super majorities — realistically what do you think your win is going to be? You don’t have the numbers. Have the conversation but know what to ask for — don’t reach too far. You have to understand that there are some issues you are just going to lose on — those that make government larger, require more mandates. But there are some things you can win on. We extended Medicaid for mothers who gave birth for one year — this was bipartisan. This was good — there can be post-birth complications.” — City commissioner & former state director, Trump for President, male, 33, urban

    “I hate to keep sounding like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. Freedoms are hugely, hugely important. I believe that when it comes to health and medical freedoms that we should first off be able to have it at a county level, but I don’t know how that works today. COVID changed everything. So that changed my perspective — if the local communities say kids have to wear masks in school all day every day and the state does not step in then I disagree. This isn’t health freedom to me. The same with vaccination mandates.” — State representative, male, 67, suburban

    “When we said you had a home rule, we didn’t mean gun control. Because that’s in the constitution and you don’t mess with that.” — State representative, male, 25, rural

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