Today was the fourth time in two weeks that I met up with someone just because I liked him (four different people, by the way). I've never been much of a social butterfly, so for me, that is a lot.
Coincidentally, all of those conversations at some point turned to values, like, truth, justice and the American way. That's from the old Superman TV show, for you young 'uns.
Perhaps this is a generational difference, and I know it is not everyone in my generation (witness the only finding four people outside of my family and work that I wanted to hang out with).
Still, it seems to be trendy to mock ideas like "values" and believe that it's all just a matter of opinion. I had a long, interesting conversation with a very intelligent young person this week who asked me whether it was possible that my principles could be more important than people in my life.
I thought about this a lot and the answer is - I'm still thinking about it.
There are some things I believe in my heart and if you disagree with me, well, I think you are wrong, but that doesn't make you a bad person. I still think you are wrong, though. For example, I believe that the Catholic church, for all its many faults, can be a force for good in the world and I support it. If you bring up the fact that many people in the church have done bad things, I agree with you, and even if I don't agree with the conclusion you made, we can still be friends.
No one is perfect. Certainly not me, and I'm not running around telling other people to be perfect.
There are values, though, that I feel are as much a part of me as my skeleton.
- Your family comes first. Family are the people who will be there after everyone else is gone. As Robert Frost said, Home is the place that when you go there, they have to take you in. If you treat your family like they are toilet paper - to be used to clean up your shit and then disposed of when you don't need them - then I'm not sure we can be friends.
- Be honest - I don't mean brutally honest, which is often more brutal than honest. For example, I know someone who is an artist and my lovely granddaughter was going to see her artwork. Beforehand, I told her, "Even if you think it is the ugliest thing you ever saw, you are not to say so." Fortunately, Eva happened to think her art was amazing. Don't lie to people about your intentions, your behavior, your credentials. Don't lie. If when you tell me something, I don't know if it is true or not, we can't be friends.
- Be kind - If you have to choose between being honest and being kind, most of the time, you should choose kind. Mine isn't the sweet, warm, fuzzy kindness, but I feel an obligation to help people when I can. The opposite of kindness is not caring if your actions hurt other people. I am frankly appalled by the attitude of "It's not my problem" , if I ran over your kitten/ hurt your feelings/ caused you to lose $10,000.
- Don't waste your talents. They are a gift from God.
I've broken bones several times, but I still have a skeleton.
As you can see, I am still thinking about this, a lot.
This is my day job -
I make cool games that teach math and social studies and run on Mac and Windows. They're fun to play and you'll learn stuff. Buy one for you, give as a gift or donate to a school.
--- and I wrote a book on matwork, too.
How about that!
You can get it here.