After being exposed to a continuous array of uplifting advertisements, I was lured to visit Values.com earlier this week. As I browsed the pages of The Foundation for a Better Life Web site, the evidence became overwhelming that my visit was predestined. The entire motive of the foundation is to encourage others to do good, through a select set of values. I’ve recently been considering ways in which I can serve my community. I felt compelled to implement their suggested values: persistence, opportunity, inspiration, peace, gratitude, live your dreams…etc. Each value, quote and billboard represents something I personally cherish and instantly became a supporter.
Shortly after visiting Values.com, my brother and I were discussing my financial situation. I informed him of a goal that I set for myself when I started college. I planned to put myself through school…and to do so without student loans. At the beginning of last semester, I had to begin relying on the support of my parents to help me finish. I failed to achieve my goal. As I shared with him how it was eating me up inside, he brought it to my attention that I was being prideful. “Think about how it makes mom and dad feel to be able to help you. Have you ever thought about that?” As a parent, he thought of the joy he will receive from providing an education for his children. He reminded me that I will graduate without any debt, and that I have much to be thankful for. The opportunity surfaced to seize the steadfast value of gratitude, but my pride crept in and smothered its invitation.
While I have it, I need to take the opportunity to publicly thank mom and dad for their unconditional support. Their monetary investment has been the least of their contributions. I have encountered extreme highs and lows throughout the years (“violent mood swings” as an old friend used to refer to them). Along the way, I have doubted many things; But never the loyalty of my parents who were there for me every step of the way. They have exemplified the values of devotion, sacrifice, dedication and encouragement.
During one of my breaks at school this week, I was thumbing through a magazine entitled The Writer, when 10 Habits of a Successful Writer caught my attention. I was immediately drawn to the article and after reading it, came to the realization that I possess many of the habits introduced therein. Like author Donald M. Murray, I “delight in anecdote and parable that reveals a larger story,” and I “treasure metaphor.” I can identify with him in that “I am always in the world and out of it.” I am constantly aware of my surroundings, scribbling notes containing “an essential tension that will release a text when it’s developed,” as he so eloquently wrote.
I examined the list and questioned my own routines with intent to implement those gone unpracticed. The only resounding negative response was to the habit of completion—the toughest one to master. Murray considers a piece to be complete once it’s been submitted—for without submission, you can’t be published. I have been published, but I have not made a habit of submission. Therefore, I will practice the values of determination and perseverance, until I develop a routine of submitting my work.
Questioning myself regarding two other habits, I found myself sitting on the fence. They require a sense of change within the individual; the writer must be able to contradict their own writing, admit past misinformation and be willing to revise their own precious material. Considering my new outlook on change, I imagine the “fence” is a hurdle I am soaring above, in mid-jump between a “no” response, and an unmistakable “yes!” I spent nearly the same amount of time editing and revising my last entry as I did writing it. But without those changes, it wasn’t nearly as effective to the reader. Change is good, and I am embracing it, along with the value of overcoming my fear of it.
Please take the time to visit Values.com to view a complete list of the values. As the foundation doesn’t receive monetary donations, it’s completely dependent on people sharing them. When incorporated into our communities, these values have the potential to transform our world.