Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Values and Virtues

money, short story, amazon, fortune
I have been thinking a lot about values and virtues recently, specifically when I try to teach my children. It is not good enough to just state a value, I need to understand it. I think it takes time to understand human nature and it's only after we have taken the time to watch the results of living a certain way to ascertain whether or not we can recommend it. Why is it that some people will give until they have no money for themselves? Why is it that others will steal at every opportunity? Who has the better life? Obviously, we live in a society where stealing is a crime and so laws usually apply along with the punishment for breaking them. But what if there were no laws? Aren't there basic principles that would still motivate us? Maybe I should study psychology! My point is, I want to understand the true values in life and teach my children what I learn, absent from laws or religious superstitions so that we can all live fulfilled lives.
 For example, An article in Psychology Today (July 5, 2011) What the Wild Things Are by Samantha Smithstein reads,  "The longer I work, the more unusual it is to find somebody who is just an alcoholic or even just a shoplifter...we see a lot of people who steal things for other people because they are trying to manage the impression of how others see them. This is manipulative but that's part of codependency-being seen as nice, generous, and financially affluent." I think so much of our perception of good and bad or success and failure is based on our society and not that easy to explain.
Today, the title I am working with is Uncle Ray, the story of a benevolent man and how he impacted the characters in the story.

Just wanted to mention that with Valentine's Day just a week away, there is an ad on the right side of this page for Smilebox. I don't usually mention the ads, but this one has a nice program for making your own valentines for free.