The Weight of Values

As I get older I understand more and more that what I find to be important is not necessarily important to others. I don’t think that makes me, or them bad people. It just makes us both people with different priorities. That’s not evilness, or (unless it’s directed as such) even disrespect it is just a different weight on our values. We still have the same values but perhaps they do not weigh as much to each person.

Take punctuality. I used to be a hour early to work, events, classes not only because of public transportation. I would strive to be early because of my mother.

She was always late. I never met one of my Aunts because every time we would get to visit, we would take so long getting ready we would cancel the entire trip. That Aunt died when I was in middle school. I never met her. Not once.

It was so important to my mother that we all looked perfect, were clean, were ready to go and the car was packed and all that. Then she would look down, and realize she was still in her bathrobe. It didn’t matter if we the kids got our stuff together the night before. It did not matter if we got it all ready the night before. She would have something come up that would keep us from leaving, make us so late that there was no point in going out.

Yes. Yes she is mentally ill. I believe that that played a huge factor in her ability to present herself in stressful situations. I also believe that even now, fully medicated and when given the ability to arrive sometime on a certain date that she will arrive as late on that date as possible, or cancel the entire trip. She has never valued being on time in my lifetime.

I don’t think it was ever her intention for us to always be late to everything. I also feel, if you were to ask her if punctuality was important in general, that she would agree it was and even give you a good example of why it is important. It’s just that it is not as important to her.

Admittedly, with CDubs I am not as good at timing and being on time as I once was.

Which has to beg the question, at least to me, how often do we get angry at others for not prioritizing the same values as highly as we do? How fair is it to expect others in different circumstances to have the exact weight on their values as we do?

I am not questioning that we do not at the core honor the same values of honesty, integrity, justice, family, purity, faithfulness, forbearance, punctuality… to name a few. After all, there was a code of conduct for pirates for goodness sake!

So, with that in mind, how bad are they? I mean really, how off is their weight system? Have you been self imposing your weights upon others?

Now I also agree that individual values aside, some folks just don’t value a human (as a whole being) as much as they might value another human. I want to type here “that’s wrong, you shouldn’t do that,” but if you had me choose between jumping in front of a bullet for my son or someone else…. say a student even…. I’d dive for my boy. I’m sorry. Thinking that makes me feel guilty! But I’m sure my body would automatically lunge towards him. So I can’t say it’s wrong to value other people more than others.

What is important is that every single person has value. They must absolutely have value, or else… horrifying things happen.

I have taught a child who is a sociopath. The things he or she has done in his or her youth to animals is truly…. I do not even imagine. This person does not feel remorse. They cannot. If you met this child you could not tell that he or she was devoid of all empathy.

This child, does not value anything other than themselves. They simply could not understand empathy. I understand, and I hope you do to, that this is not a choice. This is a fundamental wrongness within their brain. Knowing this even trying to get this child to empathize with their victims was… pointless.

I imagine what would happen on the day my reassurances, and the reassurance of others are no longer good enough reasons for my pupil to comply with the notion that all human life has value. I dearly hope that he or she finds an empirical, quantifiable reason why humans have value. Truly.

But I digress.

Honesty is extremely important to me. I have had to lie for most of my life. I hated it. I tell the truth as much as possible now. I am getting better at being more gentle about it, but it’s something I value. In turn, just because Sally Sue is a fan of white lies and sparing people’s feelings doesn’t make her the anti Christ.

So I ask you. How often have you gotten angry at someone’s values because they do not perfectly match up with yours? Is it fair? What is unimportant and how far does unimportant go before it’s one step too far for you?

Think about it. Let people know the weight of your values. Things might just change in your life.

Personally, at the very least, I will try to stop expecting people to be as “serious,” about things as I am. I have a long way to go in order to change my thinking.

What do you think? Feel free to comment below!


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