I remember when I was a kid, I got emotionally involved with one particular pencil I had. It had the word “swallow” and some beautiful, colourful birds chirping at the “Made in China” etched around it. One unfortunate day, my dear pencil just disappeared. I searched under every bed, every table, every chair, everywhere in every room of the house and still couldn’t find it. That was my first heartbreak. It was over a pencil. It was no particularly special pencil but to me, it was special. I loved it. I was emotionally attached to it and when my poor pencil decided to go on without me, it broke my heart.
Now, what is the value of a pencil? My swallow pencil couldn’t have cost anything close to a dollar but to me it meant the world. I cherished it. I took as good care of it as my 8 year old mind could manage. I wouldn’t lend it to anyone. I sharpened it sparingly. I hardly touched its beautiful eraser that crowned it. The value of my pencil was not determined by how much it cost or how much money it brought to me or who manufactured it or whether Obama ever used it. The value of my pencil was totally determined by me. At 8 years, life taught me that the value of a thing or person was a decision I made not someone else but I’ve had to relearn this lesson over and over again.
Sometimes in life, we lose what we value and very often, everything we don’t value. I’ve met people who couldn’t see beyond the snoring, the weight swings or the lateness and lost the most precious being that ever walked into their life. If you follow up on all the cases of heart breaks, pain and betrayal, you’d notice it first starts with the loss of respect (that’s if it did exist in the first place). Someone woke up one morning and decided to slash the price tag on their spouse, parent, child or friend.
Quite often when people start getting disrespectful and rude to those around them, it is a reflection of the value they’ve placed on themselves. If you hate yourself, it is impossible to love others. If you think you’re worthless, it’s hard to conjure noble words when you address those around you. And yet, our value is never determined by what we do, what we say, which school we attend, what our last names are or who we know. Yes, those things might be great but even without any accomplishment, you are still God’s most amazing creation. You are unique. You are an original. There’s only one you… and the earlier you start showing yourself some respect… some love, the better.