Monday, November 08, 2010


It seems that every day I am reading about "values". The tea party wants us to return to "American values", but seem to be arguing for a return to 1950s America. Teenagers are often deemed to have no values. Liberals are also often said to lack values. Atheists lack values. Muslims lack values. On the face of it, apparently much of the world is lacking in a basic something, as defined by the press, and large segments of the American population.

Maybe we should start over and start teaching values. Kindness. Charity. Honesty. Let's keep the list short for now. If we focus on just those three, surely we can accomplish something. How would this work? Many people learn by example. So modeling the behavior might teach a segment of the people lacking in values. Others learn by doing, so they should attempt to practice these values as well. Some people learn by rote, so we should talk about these things, over and over, until those folks also get it. We can teach the youngest children, in simple terms, what it means to be kind, to be charitable, to be honest.

What about when people ignore these values, or act in opposition to them? how would we deal with that? It seems to me that we would need to show societal and personal disapproval for the behavior, in a kind, charitable and honest way. I guess that means that we wouldn't prefer to do business with these folks, or hang out with them personally. We might want to not give them too much attention when they are being unkind, uncharitable or dishonest.

Let's give it a try.

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