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I’ve wanted to write this for over a year now, but summarizing the core values that are at the very heart of your being, and putting them into words is a rather daunting task.  But it’s on my list of 43 Things, and it would be nice to check another one off.  If you’ve never heard of This I Believe, it’s an idea based on a radio show from the 50s, in which notable people would write an essay about “the core values that guide their daily lives,” and then read them on air.  On their website, you can listen to the essays (read by the author) of people like Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson, Oscar Hammerstein, Maria Von Trapp, and even Albert Einstein.  Hearing the deepest beliefs of such influential people is a pretty damned cool thing.  So I decided to write my own (narrowed down to a few key subjects).  I was afraid that my beliefs would change over time, but what’s important to note is that these are your core values, and really they shouldn’t change very much over time.  I will say that trying to sum things up into a short essay is very difficult, so I will just do a few topics right now.  Perhaps in another year I will write on a few more.  So…here goes nothing:

My interest in politics is rooted in my passion for basic human decency, self-pride, justice, honor, family, morals, charity, and of course, democracy.  This conservatism was already in my heart long before I was old enough to know what a government is, and I learned these ideals from my parents.  I believe that the root of all decency is in a good family life.  Parents have the ultimate responsibility – creating and molding a life that will contribute to our society.  Involved parents breed good students, and good parents create more good parents by their example.  My parents* taught me good manners, honesty, how to be a hard worker, how to live within my means, and how to help others.  It is often painfully obvious who grew up without good role models.  At the funeral of a friend’s father a few years ago, I learned that he was a very loving man, and that one of his beliefs was that “the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their mother.”  This sentiment truly touched me – he and his wife were still very much in love after decades of marriage.  His sons (who by the way, were not his biological sons), learned how to treat a woman and show love through his example.  In a world where most men still view love as a weakness, I truly value this lesson, and I seek it in my relationships (platonic and romantic) with the opposite sex.  Fathers have a great responsibility to teach their sons how to be good men, and to teach their daughters what to look for in a mate.  Mothers are the example of womanhood to their daughters, and set the example of a future wife for their sons.  Together, the parents show their children the inner workings of a relationship, and it is repeated through the subsequent generations.

I believe that it is better to be kind than to be right.  The best example of this is during an argument.  Being passionate about values and politics, I could potentially get in a lot of arguments with the people I care about.  But I care about them – I would never want to say anything to make them feel badly.  But some people often throw out insults such as “that’s stupid,” “you’re crazy,” and the like.  I cannot imagine insulting the intelligence and sanity of another person, especially one that I care about.  It is perfectly possible to prove a point without resorting to insults.  It’s also possible to not insist on proving a point at all.  People will believe what they believe, and one conversation is not going to change their mind – certainly not one riddled with insults.  If being right means knocking someone else down, or crushing their belief system, perhaps it’s not so important to be right.  We are all very different.  It is impossible for someone to think exactly as you do.  We all have a different frame of reference, different experiences, and different influences that have brought us to this very point.  Forcing beliefs on others has never been successful.  Perhaps you could just listen, and appreciate the beliefs and ideas of another human being – even if they are vastly different from your own.

* I feel it is important to point out here that my parents divorced when I was 15, and yet they were still able to successfully co-parent (and still do!).

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One Comment

  1. Very well done! I lost both of my parents years ago, but the lessons I learned from them live on in my two boys – 24 and 13. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. Best, Gregg (@jumpvote)


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