We all have something special to say.
(This was going to be a one-sentence blog post, but I do love parentheticals. So please, read on. :))
The above is just a true statement. Each person on this earth (and there are a lot of us — look at that! another a parentheses), each person has something unique to say to the world, and to share with the world.
Instead, we devalue certain people because of their jobs. What brought me to thinking about this lately was hearing someone saying, “stay at home mother” was all well and good, but “wasn’t something you could put on your resume.” This wasn’t an angry or mean person who said this either. Just completely without thinking of some of its implications, she was believing the statement.
So that got me thinking.
And thinking (as usual).
First, my comeback was: “So, the person who takes care of your children while you’re at your job? She can’t put that on her resume?”
I thought that would open up the subject to more consideration.
It appalls me that we value any job that pays money, above any job that doesn’t.
(I’m not talking about the need to pay the bills here, that’s a whole other discussion.
Okay, I guess I need to include the statement that some people choose to have a stay-at-home-parent, and live on less income. But basically, we’re not judging on this other subject here, so moving on.)
So we also actually value PEOPLE more, when they make more money. Eek. We therefore think that someone is well, a better entity actually, when they’re wealthier.
Even the word “value” gives me fits because it can have monetary connotations.
Alright, moving on.
We rank: from janitor, to head-of-company, and think that one of these people actually ‘deserves’ the space they occupy on this planet more than the other.
It reminds me of MLK’s Dream. But talking about a different angle. Instead of the color of skin, it’s income. Prejudice of any kind is really not that creative. It’s really just based on us humans feeling insecure.
Side Note: This weird and wrong viewpoint has caused us to have a dearth of good, skilled people in important jobs like welding, fixing cars, installing electricity, and on and on. Already, essential and important jobs are looked down upon — like working for a moving company or garbage collecting. And yet without these two, our world would fall apart more quickly than if we had no doctors or lawyers. They’re all important, they’re both important. Work is work. Do it well, or do it shoddily.
(And I do think a tide is turning somewhat with this viewpoint, when it comes to those in their 20’s.)
Character is something else. Our character informs our work. It causes us to do it in a certain way.
In his famous speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that astoundingly gifted wordsmith, said that he longed for a day when people would be judged by the content of their character. I find this shatteringly interesting, especially because we scream so loudly about “not judging” (which is a judgmental statement in itself). Instead, we should judge — but it must be said that the two kinds of judging are different — one being dispassionate or even kind, looking for the simple truth, while the other is hateful and desperate.
But we should judge ourselves on the content of our character.
(If we find ourselves lacking, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up. Instead, we throw out that disgusting crap. Whatever unhelpful, destructive things we’re doing (in other words we admit it, the struggle, it’s not us) Those things we want to break free of and stop doing, we can ask a loving God to help us — and this often involves encouragement and friendship from other people as well. :))
MLK, Jr also said:
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
I’m pretty sure this was in a sermon he was making about the value of work well done, when he mentions street-sweeping (or doctoring), and says be the absolute best you can be, whatever you are. (I have a book with this in it that I don’t have access to right now, so I can’t check.)
One more note about judging. Really, I think if we gently but honestly attempt to judge ourselves in this healthy way that encourages improvement, it has an interesting, two-pronged effect.
1 — We don’t have a lot of time left (if any) for the bad kind of judging of others. Really, there is little time left for fussing about what a horrible this or that he or she is, when we’re trying to do our own job(s), focus on good relationships, focus on cultivating where we ourselves need to grow.
2 — We have a stunning (re-)realization of how people are really, really wanting and trying to do the best they can.
(Okay, a third prong! Are you tired of parentheticals yet? This should be the last one! We realize we need each other’s help. This reminds me of two very good Bible verses — a book MLK himself as a preacher, and a son and grandson of preachers, was very intimately familiar with.)
… encourage one another and build one another up…
(from 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5. That whole chapter 5 is actually thoroughly interesting in terms of subjects in this post. Although the Bible as a book can be mysterious and even seem unfathomable (not to mention very often completely misquoted), I’ve found digging in there while exercising good literary and spiritual analysis, to be extraordinarily fruitful and life-giving.
So the other one is,
… let us run after peace and after building one another up. (Romans 14:19)
We can’t really force this. We can only submit ourselves to the reality of each person’s unique, specialness and become aware of, or open to, love for each person on the whole planet earth.
It seems a little strange maybe to have Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred McFeely Rogers in the same post, but now I’m thinking of the classic:
“Won’t you be my neighbor?” said in Mr. Rogers’ gentle voice. Doesn’t that seem to sum up a lot?!
(My husband laughs at his favorite Mr. Rogers’ phrase, which is: “How’s your tying going?”)
I HIGHLY recommend this wonderful video made by PBS, that I found on the www.fredrogers.org website ~