Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Truth, Justice and the American Way

My not-yet-new-year's resolution was that I should not focus on business all of the time and hang out with friends.

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. 
 When I have discussions about this, sometimes people bring up, "What about that one time you did this -- " as if not living consistent with your  values 100% of the time makes them not important or just an opinion.

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.


Brody P said...

Great blog post but had a question, when you say, be honest but be kind in the process, you are pretty much saying be honest but let them down gently and think before you speak? Either way have a good Christmas and I hope your resolution dilemma works out the way you want it to.

Anonymous said...

Very Nice

LsP said...

I enjoyed reading this post.

Ardebaren said...

I have to admit, when I started reading your blog initially Ann Maria, I thought it would be a 'one stop shop' read, comment, move on (no offence intended, if it comes off as offensive I apologize) I find myself coming back however and I enjoy the read. The religion part is popping up again and I guess, religion will always be subjective, what I think won't matter to you, what you think won't matter to me - thus, the endless cycle continues. That's fine by me, I would never attempt to force my religious beliefs onto you/others and I assume you would be like-minded.

As for the family part, I'm on the fence with as it were, I think this is somewhat subjective too. My family have never really been there for me, even when I needed them, the last time my family have really been there for me was when I was 16 years old, nearly 16 years ago, I still love them however and that's where the problem lies (if you can call it a problem), we're pretty distant and I find myself closer to local friends than with distant family, if that makes sense.

The honesty part - I think it's a double-edged sword personally, though, I can refer to 2 quotes that pretty much sum up honesty.

“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche


The quotes aside, I've spent the last 9 years being dishonest with myself, this dishonesty has contributed to mental illness ultimately within myself and it's not a nice position to be in, spending each day thinking about what could have been, feeling sorry for oneself and ultimately just feeling like shit.

As for talents, I'm just starting to come to terms with those, the coming months will decide if those talents are true talents or just fantasies and dreams, is it possible that even dreams can become reality? I like to think that some dreams are achievable.

Cuivre said...

I like your comments about "principles". I have had friends/coworkers who had very 'flexible' principles (an oxymoron, perhaps), and I also found myself drifting away from them after that became apparent. Friends come and go, but principles, like a persons bloodline, persist throughout time and across generations. People can only wish they are on the 'giving' side of the equation rather than on the 'taking' side when family members need help. Ironically, the free giving of something like advice on how to straighten things out in their life, are often the things they do not want to accept.

Unknown said...

AnnMaria, I have just found your blog, and I am loving every bit of it. I also want to say that win, lose, or draw, Ronda has become and always will be such an amazing woman and an amazing role model. My daughter is 8 years old and absolutely loves her! She runs through the house screaming that she is going to be just like "Rowdy Ronda" and asking me when she can meet her and thank her. You see, Ronda has inspired me as a single mother, that I can and will do all I set out to do...period. And she has shown my daughter that she is never "too little". She can do it if she works for it. I used to worry what would happen when she faced a bully or anything like that. I have no fear now. She may be tiny, but she can handle her own, and even though she only does karate right now, it has given her a whole new confidence. You are both strong and inspirational women! I look forward to seeing and reading everything you bring to the table! Thank you!