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  • Jered Stewart

The Value of Independence

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is believed to be the most valuable diamond on earth. This diamond is a sizeable rock of 105.6 carats and is part of the collection of the Crown Jewels of England, the total value of which is estimated somewhere between $10 and $12 billion. But what I find most curious about this collection of jewels and diamonds in particular, is what makes them valuable. For diamonds the value is determined by the 4 C’s – cut, clarity, carat, and color.

At the other end of the value spectrum is the Value Menu at Burger King. This where you can get a good “value” of $0.99 cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. Although with inflation this might be $1.99 for all I know. It’s quite the juxtaposition that we use the term “value” to describe both diamonds and Whoppers.

So what does the word “value” really mean? In our personal lives we say we value things like family time, or perhaps we value one of our prized possessions such as a baseball card or coin collection. Some of these not only have value in the marketplace, but also sentimental value in our hearts. What about other values, like the core values at an organization, such as compassion, community, excellence, dignity, and stewardship? Where do these fit in the “value” spectrum? It seems the word value can have multiple meanings in this oft-confusing English language.

I don’t often quote scripture in my articles, but a verse comes to mind that says, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And perhaps this truly cuts to the heart of the matter surrounding values. At the end of the day, we all get to choose what is valuable to us. It seems to be quite subjective in some ways. Some may value diamonds and sports cars, while others couldn’t care less about such things. I wonder if many of our cultural issues are nothing more than a lack of shared values…but that may be an article for another day…

As we turn the calendar to the month of July, I am thinking about the value of independence this month. July 4th is Independence Day, when we celebrate the independence of our country and the American spirit. Sometimes I think we may forget to value the important things in life, and we take them for granted. Our independence may well be one of those values we assume we will always have. I hope that we share a gratitude for independence and the spirit of America that provides us with freedoms that many others would die to have. After all, many have already died for our freedom. May we all take time to re-assess what we truly value and ensure that our values align with what we know to be good, right, and true. Happy Independence Day!

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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