poems

Values–and how they vary

 

12/14/1989

 

Values – and how they vary

 

My first bicycle was a rebuilt, used bike that was newly painted red and looked beautiful to me.   Nothing fancy. But it balanced well, so it could be ridden “no hands” while I folded newspapers which I delivered in order to earn the money to pay for the bike.

It cost nine dollars. That was a large piece of change for the times and a huge amount to me. It was 1934. I was ten years old.

I bought the bike from Tommy’s Bike Shop. I don’t remember if the shop sold new bicycles. It might have had a few. But the bikes I remember on the sidewalk outside the shop and the ones in the crowded interior were ones that Tommy had fixed up to look new.

The experience of working for that bicycle was reinforced by many similar experiences since then, and is the basis of a value system developed and nurtured as a result of these experiences.

Thus are values learned. Some change over time. Some are forgotten. New values sometimes are adopted.

And by this matrix of values do we live. They become our rules of conduct, the basis of our moral decisions.

But not all values come from experience. Some are taught. Sometimes wrong            .

Willingly or not, they are the yardsticks by which we measure others . . . our laws of judgment (for which we should seek forgiveness!).

 

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