We have a thousand and one thoughts on the term value. Value has overtime been connected to price, preference, importance, and many more. Whatever school of thought you agree with, the fact will remain that your values define you in many ways.

Value, TheReformers

I remember a time some years back in July 2015. I was sitting in the African Amphi Theatre of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife Nigeria as a first-year student, taking an elective course on Human and its Society. The lecturer worked in, dropped his note, and started the introduction of the course with some thought-provoking questions (at least it was then for me).

“Why is it that when a campus thief steals your pen, you just shout or even ignore. But when he steals your phone or laptop, you parade the thief across campus hostels with whips?”, he started. A lot of answers came in from the enthusiastic freshmen. However, the most resounding answer was that the laptop or phone was way more expensive than the pen.

The lecturer nodded a little and went further to ask another question; “What about a situation where a man carelessly hits a dog when driving, he gets scolded, doesn’t he? And possibly he will pay for damage to the dog owner, right? But when he hits a human being, he is taken to the police station and then charged to court. Why the difference in the two treatments?” Again my colleagues rushed in to answer the question with different responses. Some even said it is because one case was a human being and the other one was a dog. I was then feeling like, “of course we know that young lady, the question is why is the treatment different?”. I think the answer that resonated with the question was that a human being is more important than a dog.

Then the lecturer gave us an answer that never crossed the mind of over 2,000 students seated in that theatre that evening (except that the person refused to speak up of course). The answer he gave was ‘value’. He made us understand that it was the value we put on the phone that made us treat the phone as more precious than the pen. He also explained that it was the value we put in human life as opposed to a dog was why we take crime against humanity more seriously than that of a dog, just as we will rate a dog more than a goat.

Values, TheReformersThe same also goes for our personal values. How much do you need to get paid to kill someone speaks about how much you value human life? How hot does the spot get before you can lie speak volume on how much value you put on your integrity? The most exciting thing is that all our actions, our deeds, and how much value we put on these virtuous things ultimately come down to how much we value our own self. If you put much value in yourself, you won’t want to be dishonest because you will realize you are too valuable to be unscrupulous. If you value yourself then you won’t want to be a murderer. This is because your hands will be too valuable to carry another person’s blood.

Therefore, we can conscientiously agree that our value system is guided by how much we value ourselves. Our value is guided more by how much value we see in ourselves than how much we value others. All in all, personal values are a reflection of how much you value yourself. This can easily be seen in the decisions you make. Roy Disney puts it this way, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

One important value that speaks volume is honesty, click here to check how.

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