Values Can be Judgmental

All my life I have tried to refine my language to match my beliefs.

I particularly dislike bragging language. In a time of hoping for peace in the world after trillions spent on warring outside our shores, bragging does not endear our nation to people around the world. Politicians are constantly talking about this country being the greatest country in the world. This divides rather than bringing us together.
Recently I met someone for the first time and we were considering the language of making value judgments. We rate things good, better or best. But according to whose standards? Our own of course. Good and bad always require value judgments. If such judgments are not in the interest of the whole community, it is divisive.

There is nothing wrong with comparison. But when it becomes competitive to the point of angry argument we have lost our ability to get along in the world. Granted, we are constantly rated in our lives. Even elementary students are graded. When we look for a job we are rated on our background and abilities. But to face the world with a yardstick
in hand may create tension and not harmony.

Some time ago I decided not to use any comparative terms. I determined to appreciate those around me without rating everyone. When I disagreed with another’s rhetoric, I would stop and ponder that person’s right to say what they said and to believe what they believed. How much less anger I found welling up in me. How much more I could accept people for what they are.

That doesn’t mean that I need to keep all my ideas to myself. If I have something of importance to share with the world I do it. Hopefully I don’t shout, “My way is best. Your way is wrong.” Being open to the emotions and beliefs of others helps us to understand the people around us and helps us to be able to find a place of coming together and finding ways to cooperate.

Just think of young children with few of the prejudices of their parents and grandparents. They develop empathy for others in their own time. It is only when their minds become filled with biases that have been carried down through the generations that they develop a narrow view of what is best in the world. Then they close their minds to new ideas and ways of improving. How freeing to allow young children to experience life before forcing them into outworn patterns of behavior.

I was so lucky that my mother never said a critical word about any other person in my presence. She never used words of prejudice. She told me about my father who died before I was born. She said he had great compassion for others who were less fortunate. He would say, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Our government has not cared for the unfortunate in our society very well compared to other industrial nations and there are many who are suffering downturns. Many people contribute to innumerable charities because we haven’t improved our so-called democratic system sufficiently enough to provide all citizens with what they need.
So let’s all get into the act of doing our bit to bring the good things in life to everyone.

Georgie bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at gnkunkel@omcast.net or 206-935-8663.

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