The importance—personally and socially—of living and promoting fundamental values

During politically turbulent times like these our value systems are put to the test. Being human, naturally, we fail to live our values completely and honestly. We’re all hypocrites. A lot of us (but clearly not all) recognize this early in life as we mature and develop a greater and deeper sense of honest self-reflection. This leads the penitent soul to recognize how important, for example, humility is in everyday life. Humility, we realize, is a solid virtue. Humility is a fundamental value we believe in because it’s an honest and mature understanding of our naturally flawed condition.

So, if we truly value humility—or truth telling, integrity, fidelity, justice, mercy, faithfulness, etc, etc—then we value them as an integrate part of a meaningful and purposeful driven life. We also, naturally, want to see these values reflected in the behavior and character of others—especially our leaders. Such fundamental values make our social lives and our sense of community possible. The break down, or deep decay of these values over time, is an invitation to strife, to rabid partisanship, to tribalism, to social breakdown, and the fermenting of civil war.

So it becomes critically important to understand that none of these values or virtues have any meaning unless we try to live them and promote them socially. (Listening and empathy, I might add, are virtues.)

Character matters folks. That’s a fundamental law of humanity. Our mature minds and our longing souls know this if we but listen to them. We should live, as best we can, those fundamental values and expect our leaders will strive to do the same.

Being Bigger on the Inside

The sad state of American politics, especially the degraded state of the Presidency, has made this quaint little story about personal character, as told by John Maxwell in his book The 21 indispensable Qualities of a Leader, very pertinent to our times:

A man took his young daughter to a carnival, and she immediately ran over to a booth and asked for cotton candy. As the attendant handed her a huge ball of it, the father asked, “Sweetheart, are you sure you can eat all that?”

“Don’t worry, Dad,” she answered, “I’m a lot bigger on the inside than on the outside.”

That’s what real character is—being bigger on the inside.

A short little story that says so much.