Remembrance is about values

Today is Remembrance Day. We remember the sacrifices made by others to secure our freedom, a future many of them would never experience. Why would someone risk their life, not knowing what the outcome would be, to benefit another? It’s about values.

We all have values, deeply held beliefs about the world and our place in it. In essence, our moral code. Values are learned consciously and subconsciously. They are found in the stories read to us as children, the interactions of our families and cultures. They are written into our institutions. They are more often acted than stated, leaving us to weave our own stories from scattered threads.

To optimize well-being, you need to know your values. You need to know if they are serving you well, or if you are simply a vessel carrying the untested values of yore. You need to know them, because true freedom is acting in accordance with them, with authenticity.

Learning what your values are can be challenging. You can’t take things for granted anymore. Think about your peak experiences, times when you were mad as hell, or times when you felt awe or pride. These experiences were either in opposition or perfectly aligned with your values, respectively. What were those values? Examine them. Write them down. Ask yourself if they reflect who you thought you were, or who you envision yourself to be.

For the past century, roughly the duration of the longest living human’s memory, there have been constant deadly conflicts between groups of people. At the heart of any conflict is one set of values against another. Those we remember today valued freedom, the freedom for all of us to live by our own values, without judgement, without someone else forcing their beliefs on us.

For their sacrifice we should we grateful, not complacent. Nothing is forever. We can honour them by accepting the challenge their gift presents us, not to squander our freedoms, but to explore them and live them, finding in ourselves that which is most meaningful, the morals and values we wish to offer our children. We remember.

Be well.