What we value = the conflicts we endure

What we value = the conflicts we endure

I want to share with you something I recently taught my writing students this week.

All conflict, whether personal or societal, is simply a conflict of values.

Take me, and most adults for that matter, we value hygiene. We value soap and toothpaste. My 9 year son does not. And so it’s a fight to get him to take a shower, wash his hair, and to brush his teeth.

But take I’ll it further.

I value a quite and a clean house. My children do not.
I value education. Some of students do not.

I value my physical ability to run. My brain does not.                                                      I value individuality. Society does not.

All of your stresses come down to what you value vs. what others value.

Maybe you value honesty. Maybe your spouse does not.
Maybe you value privacy. Maybe your mother does not.

Maybe you value vodka. The Department of Motor Vehicles does not.
Maybe you value self-expression. Maybe the fascist regime you live under does not.

Maybe you value God. Maybe your atheist uncle does not.
Maybe you value physical beauty. Maybe your face does not. Okay– that wasn’t nice.

When I teach young writers about conflict I explain even the fiery and grand conflicts they pay $15 to see on a movie screen are simply a conflict of values.

The Avengers value peace. Thanos values destruction.

Batman values justice. Joker values deviance.

Many, if not all, of our conflicts would be resolved if we all valued the same things. But that’s not possible.

What we value is responsible for the life we lead. For the conditions that confront us, for the conditions we endure.

Our values must be compromised by our children, by our spouse, by our government, by our society. Because by such compromise, we learn about ourselves. We learn if our values have merit and substance.

We learn whether our values are worth fighting for.

Be well,


An excerpt from the previous post: Meditation for men who don’t own yoga pants

“If you’re like me– workdays condition us, from the moment we wake to the time we sleep to get busy– and fast.

Monday bulldozes it’s way to Friday. Our calendars do not allow or accept empty squares. Work needs to be done. Kids need to be minivanned to practice. Dinner is shoveled down while standing up. Homework is scratched in bulky workbooks. There are obligations to meet and promises to keep.

And to slow it all down feels a little strange. But a good strange.

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