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Values Check-Up

It’s hard to believe that we are already almost through the year!  It seems like just yesterday we welcomed in and celebrated 2012, and now here we are approaching the down side!  While cleaning in preparation to move, I ran across a paper I had written on values.  My thought was: it’s time for a check- up!  This midway point of a year is an appropriate time to reflect and reevaluate how well I am living out my values, which express who I am in character, word, and deed.

Every day, we face situations that bring opportunities to live out our values.  It’s another chance to grow, to stretch beyond ourselves and reach ahead.  As scary as they can be, these life situations should be a barometer of how we are doing.  Some values should become such a part of us that we don’t think twice about our actions or reactions.  There may be others we struggle to live up to.

You may find that we share common values and may have additional ones to add:

–          I value life, its ups as well as its downs.  As a result, I’ve come to learn and believe that whatever happens in my life is for my good.

–          I value the awesome freedom that comes through belief in some One Greater than man.

–          I value life and try to live it to its fullest.

–          I value the time that I have had to develop spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially.

–          I value the opinions of others.

–          I value people, especially our youth; I value sharing with them and encouraging them through their life’s journey.

–          I value money; it’s the answer to everything.

–          I value learning and education, both in the classroom and outside of it.

–          I value relationships.

The developing, shaping, and conception of our values, morals, and ethics is a joint venture.  The contributions are never wholly ours alone.  We are all shaped and influenced by religious belief, family, friends, circumstances and situations.  These all script our value system, but ultimately, the final outcome is our responsibility.

Author William Boyle, in his article “What Is a Value?,” says:  “a value is not a value unless it is freely chosen. In order for a value to be a value, it must involve option or choice.  The highest level of value development, commitment, has one degree of certainty of conviction, a firm emotional acceptance of the value – IWILL ACT ON THIS VALUE.”

On values, in his book Principle-Centered Leadership, Steven Covey proposes: “…what’s needed is a moral compass.  Sometimes people lack an internal moral.  Principles are like a compass.  A compass has a true north that is objective and external that reflects natural laws or principals, as opposed to values that are subjective and internal.  Because the compass represents the verities of life, we must develop our value system with deep respect for the ‘true north principles.’  Principles are proven, enduring guidelines for human conduct.  Certain principles govern human effectiveness.

The six major world religions all teach the same basic core beliefs—such principles as ‘you reap what you sow’ and ‘actions are more important than words.  People may argue about how these principles are to be defined, interpreted, and applied in real-life situations, but they generally agree about their intrinsic merit.  They may not live in total harmony with them, but they believe in them.  And they want to be managed by them.  Principles are not values.  Values are maps.”

It’s time for a check-up, and October is the perfect month to assess where you are at this stage of your life’s journey.  As I write this article, there are about 100 days before we enter a new year.  Let’s finish strong!

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