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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

V is for Values

When I was pondering the notion of "value", this came unbidden into my head:
When the values go up, up, up
And the prices go down, down, down.
Robert Hall this season
Will show you the reason
High quality! Economy!

music by Leon Mitchell; words by Charles A. Gaston; original version (c) 1946

When I was growing up in Binghamton, NY in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Robert Hall was THE place to go for back-to-school clothing. The clothing was inexpensive but solidly made, the kind of place a working-class family wanted to shop for their children's apparel.

The secret of the stores' success was told in this 1949 TIME magazine article. But what sold me were the nifty ads, sometimes with the lyrics slightly altered, which you may be able to hear here and/or here.

But the more pervasive meaning of the word "values" involves the "set of emotional rules people follow to help make the right decisions in life." Or the wrong ones, I suppose. In a large country such as the Unites States, not to mention a vast planet, one hopes for commonality in values, but certainly cannot expect unanimity.

Yet some groups have successfully seemed to have hijacked the term "values". There is a group of "values voters", for instance, who are in the right wing of American politics. Based on their recent summit, they are concerned about the "silenced" Christians, the evil of "Obamacare" (health care), "defending marriage", and in general, the "vast left wing conspiracy."

While I support differing points of view, I'm troubled by the notion that only those people of a particular political persuasion are the only ones with "values". It's similar to the notion that "Christian" only represents a certain political POV.

As a "liberal" and a Christian, my values are just as legitimate. Oh, and I vote, too.



Sylvia K said...

Great post for the day, Roger! Lots of wisdom regarding values!

Have a great day!


photowannabe said...

Interesting thoughts concerning Values.

Spiderdama said...

Great and interesting V!;-)

RuneE said...

I'm a non-religious, slightly-left-of-centre social-democrat, but I would insist that I have my values: I'm a pacifist, I'm concerned about the environment, I care very much about my family, I'm sceptical about Big Brother mentality - be it private or public. And I could go on and on and on...

Life with Kaishon said...

Values are very important. I hope to be instilling good ones in my son!

Amy said...

Amen, Roger!

Leslie: said...

Your post is very thought provoking. If it gets people talking, that's great. Not everyone has the same values as others, including Christians.

anthonynorth said...

Values can be such a sticky subject - so often a term that can better be understood as politics.
An excellent post, as always.

Q said...

I usuallly can tell what someone values by the stories they tell.
I tell stories about birds and bugs. What society values seems to have changed over time. I look forward to the day people value clean air and water and habitat for the bugs and birds.
Happy ABC Wednesday.
I value your blog!

Irene said...

I enjoyed your valued post.

Tumblewords: said...

Excellent and provocative. I've found that many of the righters who profess to 'know values' are the same ones who have none. Glad we are still Voting!

Janie said...

Great V. I, too, wonder why the "value voters'" values seem to be the only ones that count. The rest of us have values, too!

Rose said...

I cringe every time I hear someone use the word "family values," because it's usually uttered by someone who's ultra conservative. It's as if those of us "in the middle" don't have family values, too. Very thought-provoking post today!

Reader Wil said...

The values I honour are those who benefit other people in such a way that they become better, more caring persons. Values are to be appreciated. They ought to be observed honestly.

Joy said...

When people talk of values it generally means they wish to impose some narrow minded dogma on you. Ideals of fair mindedness and kindness might make a better society. Interesting post.

jay said...

So true. I was talking with my husband just now about values, because we heard on the news about two ten year old boys who raped an eight year old girl, something that was quite literally unheard of when I was that age. I believe this situation (there have been many other heinous crimes committed by children) has come about because of a fall in moral values among young parents coupled with a rise in political correctness. Even if those young parents wanted to keep their children in line they have their hands tied because children now have rights and can run off to a health professional and complain if either their parents or their teachers dare to punish them. Of course, they are allowed to say 'please don't do that' but we all know how much good that will do, unless backed up with solid parenting and a respect for authority.

Paula Scott said...

Yes, what is with that stereotyping anyway?! As always a great thought provoking post. Nothing superficial here-I can always count on content!

Gattina said...

What a good idea ! Values, that's a nice word !

jabblog said...

Great thoughts well expressed as ever, Roger. Sometimes the 'fanatical' groups can make the rest of us feel inadequate or perhaps simply invisible.

Dragonstar said...

It seems to me that people consider their own values to be valid, while others' beliefs are valueless. Very thoughtful post.