Recall from my post in January of this year, that our friends at Merriam-Webster have defined values as something such as a principle or quality that is intrinsically valuable or desirable. I have always recognized values as what do you hold dear and that you would not negotiate that principle or belief. Often, we hear the phrase, “he/she has good values.” Typically, when you peal a phrase like that back you find that the person was raised with a value structure in their family that was aligned with their traditions, culture, or faith.
At one time in America, we were a predominantly Christian nation and many of us were raised with our values foundation built upon the 10 Commandments. From this foundation, our families, culture, and society have impacted those values to shape us into the adults we are. The impact of family on values installation cannot be understated as parents are the first educators of children. Additionally, the role of the education system to mature on that instilled value system is critical to the values formation we all desire.
Recently, my wife and I took a trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland. It was a journey, no, an adventure, that my wife and I had hoped for across our 39 years together.
It held special meaning for us both as individuals and as a couple. Both of our sets of parents had spoken highly of these places across our formative years and we each had a special yearning to fulfill along the way.
I was born 59 years ago in South Ruislip England while my father was stationed there in the US Air Force. We left there when I was a few months old and we spent the rest of his career stateside and I spent my 35-year military career stateside as well.
For Kerry, she was named for County Kerry in Ireland and her maiden name of Sullivan was originally from the Surname of O’Sullivan of Irish heritage. For each of us, there was great intrinsic value in our visiting there.
We also found powerful extrinsic value too. Over the last 15 or more years, we both have been disheartened by the rapidly shifting values in our America.
Principally, the loss of respect for human life, the sanctity of marriage, Christianity as a faith, patriotism, Americanism, respect for our fellow citizens, and respect for our traditions and our heritage.
As we made our way through these three beautiful countries, we recognized that some of these values were still important and proudly on display without fear of partisan attack or unfounded labeling and the personal destruction that we so frequently see in our beloved America today.
We visited the Imperial War Museum in Cambridge England on our journey. It was a Tuesday, normal workday, and there were many people there of all ages. It was obvious that the proud heritage of Britain in WWI, WWII, and their supportive participation in many conflicts since holds real intrinsic value to their people.
This stood out to us in stark contrast to the recent anti-American rhetoric and political destructiveness that we experience daily in America. Our value for our country’s proud heritage, symbols, beliefs, heroes, and educational content is constantly demonized, ridiculed, and in some cases removed from our educational institutions under the guise of progressivism and political correctness.
We witnessed proud declarations of what faith you believed in, what country you legally came from, and what work you and your family did as proud citizens.
Somehow, it appeared that the divisiveness we feel daily in our American political process was not on full 24/7 display in the citizens of these countries though we know they have both liberal and conservatives too.
As we left Ireland, we both were anxious to return to our country and our loved ones. We were dreading the immediate onslaught of the negative Mainstream Media and the unending political/partisan bickering. Our Irish cab driver provided this picture of how many, who we were among the past 15 days felt, when he said, “I have nothing to do with politics and politicians, they all lie.”
So, leaders, do you think values matter in 21st century America? Is it OK that our media and some well-placed citizens, advocacy groups, and politicians have created an environment where living in accordance with our laws and displaying your values can be negative, threatening, and potentially personally damaging?
I believe that personal values are critical to the formation and long-term success of effective leaders. The evidence for this belief, across the history of our nation, is overwhelmingly supportive and remarkably positive.
Our challenge today, as leaders, is how do we stop the destruction of our nation’s values, end the attacks and damages on our people, and encourage those with good values to step forward for the present and future good of our nation? Stay strong ~JETSR