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No substitute for sound values

We are not likely to hear someone say they baked a cake today but forgot to use eggs and butter. The reason is that it is simply not possible to get good results, when key ingredients are missing. Most would say “come on, it is only common sense to use eggs and butter”.

Melba Patillo, who was one of the Little Rock Nine

There are so many areas of life where common sense seems to go missing when there are complex issues that require digging deep for a solution that will produce positive results.

In the political arena, here in Bermuda and indeed in many countries around the world, there are occasions when divisiveness can blunt the ability to merge the best of values needed to solve problems that require common sense and logic. In other words making the right decision might not please everyone, but that is no reason to hesitate on a matter that common sense dictates is the only way forward.

Sound values taught early in life, have a way of sustaining those facing challenges that seem overwhelming when there is not even a spark at the end of the tunnel. There will always be those who frown on talk about values because their belief is that when you have power nothing else matters. Any kind of power, be it the head of a small candy store or in the hot seat of a giant corporation, carries responsibility in making decisions that result in success or failure.

In most cases, failure is unacceptable. Again we return to values. Being honest and truthful and believing in yourself, in doing what you know is the right thing, takes courage based on values learnt early in life. In a materialistic, fast-moving world as we are all in today, there is a need to pause and reflect on values such as truth, honesty and accountability.

In a tightly knit society such as ours, there are times when family members are reluctant to express political views out of fear of setting off heated discussion and an undercurrent of anger over differing opinions. Values taught early teach you to accept criticism as a part of life. This is not to say one has to submit to a view they disagree with, but instead seek other ways to bridge the gap of misunderstand. That is never an easy task.

Bermuda is being confronted with a situation that holds the potential to stifle efforts to regain our economic footing, which is badly needed to keep our social infrastructure intact — a factor in also helping families to cope with tough times. Any government at the helm in such trying times will be facing tough decisions. In every case, unless the people feel their needs are being considered as a priority, governments can expect negative feedback. That feedback is not indicative of doing something wrong. This is why transparency in every move is essential for any government.

Once again it should be emphasised that good values taught early in childhood enable those facing what seem insurmountable challenges to keep a steady head while remaining focused on what they know to be the right thing to do. That journey often can be painful, but helping to stay the course will be those values taught early.

Perhaps an illustration of how values taught early make a difference, is when 15-year-old Melba Pattillo Beals, in 1957 was chosen to be the first Black student to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas. One can hardly imagine what she endured on a daily basis from students who probably wished she never existed. In a memoir in later years, she attributed her ability to withstand hatred and bitterness to values her grandmother taught her about life. Her grandmother knew from what she had been taught that no amount of hatred or bitterness would ever override those with faith in values such as love and compassion for all.

Too often in our fast-moving world of varying perceptions about this or that, there is a tendency to overlook old-fashioned values that are the true ingredients of a more harmonious life in any society on the planet.

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Published September 11, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated September 10, 2021 at 7:26 pm)

No substitute for sound values

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