Values not Vehicles
I can remember the first day when I took possession of my very own vehicle. While I did enjoy cruising around in my new car, I found that I enjoyed the value of freedom more than the actual car itself. My car, although wonderful, took a lot of maintenance to keep on the road. I would spend lots of money, time and effort into making sure that my car was ship shape. And you know what happened? Well the day came along that this vehicle I had put so much energy into no longer met my needs, so I went out and purchased a new one. While this story might seem a little trivial, I do think it provides us with a glimpse into the societal tendency we have to value vehicles ahead of actual values.
There is so much that I'm learning about what I don't know thanks to being a father of young, impressionable children. Perhaps the most valuable lesson that is currently occupying by brain is the idea of what kind of values I am passing along to my children. Values are an interesting thing. Sometimes we cling to ideals that we believe are important, but when we take an honest look at our lives, we may find little to no evidence that these ideals are actually important to us.
Here are three ways I would suggest we can ensure that we are actually passing on values instead of an insatiable appetite for broken down vehicles.
1. Just do it. Nike said it best...when it comes to values, just do it. If you say you value something, make sure you demonstrate that value by actually incorporating it into your daily routine. If you value relationships, there should be many significant relational building moments throughout each of your days...if not, you may not actually value relationships.
2. Use a filter. Values are a filter that help us to choose our vehicles wisely. If we do perhaps value relationships, we may refrain from over-booking ourselves with entertainment oriented activities so we can actually spend time connecting with people. A wise decision is a decision that is filtered through a grid that identifies whether or not your values will be enhanced or hindered by the course of action you take.
3. Get over it. Vehicles don't last forever...but values do have long-term impact. There will come a day when someone might suggest for you to engage in an activity that you don't particularly enjoy. On that day, you will be presented with the choice between what you value most: a vehicle or a value. If we hold onto the expression (vehicle) of a value instead of the value itself, we will unintentionally de-value the value and elevate the vehicle. If, however, we find the courage to embrace the value no matter what the collateral vehicular damage, we may just cement the legacy of the values we so desperately long for others to embrace in the lives of those whom we care about.
Values are more important than vehicles. Are you willing to allow your vehicle to die so that the value might actually live?