My Core Values
"Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks--we will also find our path of authentic service in the world." — Parker J. Palmer (Quaker teacher & author)
"Know thyself." - Socrates
Anyone who has had children can tell you that each one had a unique and identifiable personality from the moment they were born. There are personality traits and tendencies I saw in my son from earliest childhood that still are an essential part of him. Likewise, each of us is born with a unique set of innate abilities, "leanings" and spiritual gifts. All of these things combined help define who each of us is as a unique person. In the course of growing up, we often try to become something (or someone) other than who we really are--to the point that we can lose touch with our true self. This can lead to dissatisfaction, depression and despair.
In recent years, I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying, pondering, listening, journaling, soul searching, and interacting with wise & discerning friends, and have developed a pretty clear understanding of what my gifts and abilities are (and aren't). I have a pretty good understanding of who I am and of what brings me life and joy vs. what drains me and of what God-given gifts I have to offer to the church and the world. As part of this discovery process, I have also come to identify five "core values" that seem to have been a part of me from as far back as I can remember and that have tended to influence my thoughts and actions throughout my life. Each of these five "core values" carries with them a multitude of ramifications.
My five "core values" are:
1. God is love.
2. Each individual person is important.
3. Injustice should be confronted.
4. Knowledge is empowerment.
5. Conformity is dangerous.
The effect of these values is that I tend to see each day as a gift from God and don't believe anyone is beyond the reach of God's love and God's redemptive/restorative intentions; I find hierarchies, "in-groups", personality cults, celebrity or anything that elevates one person over others to be repugnant; I'm sensitive to injustice and have a hard time ignoring it and will sometimes make a big deal out of an injustice that others seem to be able to ignore; I love to research, learn, seek, explore, get to the bottom of things; I also love to teach and when I teach I like to present multiple points of view on a topic so my students can be fully informed and make up their own minds; throughout my entire life I have been labeled as "rebellious" because I question the status quo, the legitimacy of authority and the assumptions which underlie rules & conventions.
It's no wonder I became a Quaker.