Goals and Values Continued

Goals and Values are interwoven throughout everybody’s life. Every time I have read about this subject the writing has been so intellectualized and complicated that by the time I reached the third paragraph, my mind begins wandering. I’m going to simply tell a story. I hope you can instantly understand and incorporate my story into your life.

In the beginning as children we learn values from our parents, good and bad, right and wrong. One big problem is that in today’s world, the family structure has been disseminated to the point that many people never learn right from wrong. Consqcuently, these people’s values are distorted or nonexistant.

Along with these values we learn the consequences of violating them: punishment and reward. Everybody wants reward; nobody wants punishment. Therefore, we accept our parents’ values. My parents did the best they could until I was about 5 years old.  Then they turned me over to the Catholic Church where I was brainwashed into believing that God was a supreme being who kept track of my sins and should I die with mortal sin on my soul, the consequences were that I would go to Hell for Eternity; or if I died with an unspecified number of venial sins, I would go to Purgatory for thousands of years. My head told me that I would do about ten million years in Purgatory, or go straight to Hell. Who could live with those values?

In addition, I met my first peer group — the other kids in school. These peer groups changed as I got older, and as long as my values coincided with each peer group, I fit in and was accepted.  Therefore, my self-esteem was not damaged. So it went… In every environment I found myself, there was always some person in authority whose values I had to take on in order to get on. As a result, I constantly had to accept the values of a boss, professor, or some other leader of the pack, in order fit in and maintain my self-esteem. The whole concept didn’t work; I didn’t fit in; psychologically I was a mess. These values that I had accumulated for 18 years weren’t mine.

I was not becoming the person I wanted to be. In 1963 I heard a lyric in an album by Bob Dylan called, “Bringing It All Back Home.” The song was, “It’s All Right, Ma.”  The lyric that impacted me was, “I ain’t got nothing, Ma, to live up to.” That was a relevation!  Who did I want to live up to?  I looked around and saw nobody who qualified. So there I was: no real values, no goals, and no role model. I needed a Mentor.

What did I do?  That’s the question that I will take up in the next chapter. I had no values that were my own.  I didn’t even know what a Goal was, nor how to get one. It’s obvious that I was headed nowhere.  Mediocrity would have been a step up for me, but a life changing transformation had to occurr in order for me to become the person I wanted to be. The next step?  Ed Harding

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