Motivational Values

For the community meeting in which we had to rank our values from ones given us on cards, I faced a difficult choice. I value my family and friends highly, and yet I found myself placing these two beneath other concepts such as freedom, equality, and competence, among others. In fact, after everything had been shuffled out, family and friends came in closer to the lower-middle than made me feel entirely comfortable. Did I really not value family and friends as much as I’d thought? I saw other people having one or both of those cards in their top five, but my top five were opportunity, freedom, equality, tolerance, and competence. I wrestled with this for a bit before coming to a conclusion. It’s not that I don’t hold family and friends near and dear, but that without those top five values (and others that came after but still before family and friends) integrally intertwined with my life and those about me, I wouldn’t want my family and friends. I wouldn’t want my family if they weren’t just as committed to ideals such as freedom and equality as I am. I wouldn’t want my friends if they weren’t tolerant and welcoming of differences.

Another choice that was difficult for me was the placement of tradition and innovation. They ended up in my stack ‘tied’ for eighth place. I know a lot of my classmates put tradition quite low in their stacks, and I think it’s because the word is pretty embedded with notions of conservatism and reactionary movements, which tend to be more right-wing than most students (or AU students at the very least). I’m definitely not what one would call right-wing, but to me tradition means keeping in mind the past and its lessons. To entirely cast aside tradition would be to walk blind, without the benefit of knowledge that has come before. But tradition without innovation is dangerous. One cannot be afraid to forge new paths. I believe that a balance of the two is essential to building a better future, and that’s why I placed the two concepts on the same rank.

One thought on “Motivational Values

  1. Hi Sabina!

    I am so fascinated by your discussion of the tensions you experienced in ranking your motivational values. The resolution you arrive at, of friends and family with more conceptual values, is an interesting one. You placed family and friends below those more conceptual values because what you actually value is a community of shared values. This makes me wonder–where did you rank community?

    Other observations:

    1. The question of tradition is always a complicated one. You’ve really artfully expressed why young progressives have such a difficult relationship to tradition. I really appreciate your solution–placing innovation next to tradition– because it creates a necessary space for transgression and change, but doesn’t fail to appreciate that tradition is a really good place to start.

    2. You can’t give two values the same rank! Which one do you put first?

    Thanks for posting!


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