Over the course of the next few weeks, our summer series Foolproof will be focusing on the Book of Proverbs and how the lessons those stories teach us can be applied to our lives everyday. From wisdom to money management to forgiveness, the proverbs hold a lot of advice for us. Stories are one of the best ways for us to learn, and indeed King Solomon did intend this book to be a set of stories for his son — examples that his son could learn from in order to grow in wisdom.
But since there’s just not enough time in the homilies to adequately squeeze out all the value in each parable, we’re going to use this space to explore the life of one person who lives out the lesson of the week’s proverb really well. Some of them are Catholic, some of them aren’t. Some of them are well known, others aren’t. But what they all have in common is a beautiful commitment to living into the incredible wisdom of the proverbs.
They’re all what we might call role models. If asked, we could probably all come up with a list of role models. Parents, spouses, coworkers, and friends might be some of those people. There’s been some really interesting psychological research on the subject of role models recently, and what it’s discovered is that we connect best to role models who espouse virtues that we ourselves choose to live through. When we can identify behaviors of a person that correlate with one of our core values, they become a role model for us. That’s what makes my list of role models slightly different than my best friend’s or my mom’s or my favorite college professor (incidentally, all of whom are people that I consider to be role models) — we all have different core values.
So we’re going to start this summer message series with a challenge: try to determine the two primary values with which you identify the most. These are not values you wish you had or values that the people you admire have; these are the values that you have. This can be really hard to do, so try to test each value as a lens for decision-making. If it feels like a value you would use in making a tough decision, it might be one of those really important ones for you. A few examples to get you started — adaptability, accountability, bravery, compassion, diversity, inclusivity, caring, kindness, ambition, trust, courage, hope, love, fulfillment, family, generosity, understanding, growth, learning, pride, grace, and commitment.
It’s probably going to be really hard to pick just two or three, because if you’re anything like me, you want to live into all of the positive aspects of each of these values. But really try, because each value is a lens through which you can view the people of this summer’s stories. See how generosity, ambition, and fulfillment moved one person, while accountability, pride, and courage aided another. Hopefully, these values will help the stories of these people come alive for you — and maybe they’ll become role models for you too.
--Claire Kosewic, Parishioner
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