Your value never changes.
As young kids, my brothers and I were avid baseball card collectors. It was quite common for my parents to take us to the local Dari Mart to buy a coveted pack of Topps cards for the meager price of $0.25. For my younger brother (Tim) and me, I think the gum that came with each pack was equally important to the cards themselves.
One day, our neighbor decided to generously donate several boxes of his old cards to the Sissel boys. Apparently he had outgrown the card collecting phase and was ready to move on. In an effort to maintain a certain level of fairness, my parents gave Mark, my older brother, the dubious honor of dividing the cards evenly amongst the three of us.
The distribution process was akin to the annual sorting of Halloween candy. Mark would slowly chip away at the huge stack by methodically placing each subsequent card in one of three separate piles. I proudly gazed at my pile as it continued to mount with each passing minute. My mind raced as I thought of all the things I could do with these cards, not the least of which was taping them to the spokes of my bike.
I can’t speak for Tim, but I’m fairly certain that we both viewed the cards as just that – cards. Regardless of whose face was on them, they were all of equal value to us. Mark, on the other hand, knew something we didn’t. He was armed with the knowledge that each card had a different value, depending on the significance of the player. So, while our piles consisted of cards with names that even die-hard baseball fans wouldn’t recognize, he discreetly placed the most valuable ones (i.e. Mickey Mantle) in his own pile. Why? Because he had a much different understanding of the word value than we did. While he saw each card for its relative monetary worth, we saw them as just cards, each of which carried their own intrinsic worth, or value.
Today, as I reflect on this moment, I can’t help but wonder how different our world would be if we made a collective effort to view other people in much the same way my younger brother and I looked at those cards. Rather than drawing our attention to the name, race, statistics (accomplishments), or physical traits of others, we would value our peers for their inherent, intrinsic beauty. Unlike a baseball card, which may rise or fall over the years in terms of monetary value, people are born with a value that is unchangeable and incomprehensible. While numbers will continue to measure the value of material goods, a number will never be able to capture the value of a human.
My definition of respect is to value each and every person you meet, regardless of their differences. Unfortunately, this definition can be easily misconstrued as we sometimes place a value on others. In other words, a certain friend may become worth more than others. Let’s face it; in a world that is constantly feeding us with messages of material worth, it’s easy to apply the same concept to humans.
Think of the homeless man on the side of the road. While his monetary worth may not be equivalent to yours, his intrinsic worth is identical. You see, God created each of us in His likeness and image; therefore we are all inherently valuable. We all have a heart with feelings and a spirit that longs for love. He didn’t intend for us to value others according to the stuff they have or the way they look. That’s all on the surface. He wants us to love with no judgment, including loving ourselves.
Simply put, nothing can change your inherent value. So…
The next time someone labels you, remember that nothing can change your inherent value.
The next time you make a mistake, remember that nothing can change your inherent value.
The next time you let your emotions get the best of you, remember that nothing can change your inherent value.
The next time you raise your voice with your child, remember that nothing can change your inherent value.
The next time you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, remember that nothing can change your inherent value.
YOU ARE VALUABLE, AND ALWAYS WILL BE!
P.S. Tim and I are still negotiating with Mark to earn a fraction of his baseball card sales, should he choose to sell them. Meanwhile, my cards are probably still attached to the spokes of my dirt bike.
P.S.S. I invite you to watch a video I created, which explains the essence of inherent value, using a dollar bill. Click here to watch it.