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Value Speak: Hold fast to values to avoid confusion
Jun 09, 2013 | 2602 views | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By Joseph Walker

I  am easily confused. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or an IQ thing or just a “me” thing. But I read stuff or I see stuff and I get confused.

Like the other day. I was walking along a big city street when I came upon a beautiful, green, well-kept little park. It looked great. I wanted to just sit there on the grass for a while and soak up the late spring sun.

But then I noticed the sign by the sidewalk. It gave the name of the park and identified the donor who made it possible. And then it said in big, bold letters: “No loitering.”

Wait. No loitering Р in a park? Isn’t loitering sort of what you do in a park? Certainly that’s what I was thinking about doing. I was thinking about sitting down on that lush green grass, laying back and basking in the warm weather.

You know С loitering.

But evidently that isn’t allowed in this park С which explains why there weren’t any people there. Who wants to get arrested for pre-meditated kicking back, or first-degree relaxing?

Still, it confuses me.

Evidently, confusion runs rampant in my DNA. My eldest daughter, AmyJo, says she is confused by the astrological designation of a “new moon,” which she insists should actually be “no moon,” since when there is a new moon you can’t actually see any moon. Middle child Andrea, on the other hand, confuses herself. “I give my son toys that make noise,” she says, “and then I’m annoyed at the noise he makes with the toy I just gave him. I don’t get that.”

If you knew Andrea you’d understand the whole “confuses herself” thing.

On the other hand (and yes, I know that’s three hands; I’m especially confused by math), my youngest daughter, Beth, is baffled by her six-month-old son, who fusses when she tries to put him in a baby carrier so she can haul him from one place to another.

“I’d love to get carried around all day,” she said. “I don’t understand why he fights it.”

Beth is a new parent. Someone should tell her child-induced confusion only gets worse.

Nah. Why ruin the surprise?

My eldest son Joe said he is confused by Й well, on second thought I think I’ll just let that one slide and make a note to work on Joe’s PR skills. And Jon, my youngest, didn’t respond to my request for input. I can only assume he was confused by the email.

He is easily confused. He comes by it naturally.

The thing is, it’s a confusing world in which we live. From the White House to city hall, from Madison Avenue to Wall Street, from the front page to the sports page to every page in between, we are being bombarded with more information С and more mixed messages С than at any time in our history. We honor warriors, but hate guns. We advertise fast foods with thin, beautiful models who in their real lives eschew С rather than chew С fast food. Basketball “flopping” is bad С unless it’s our guy doing the flopping, then it’s a great move. We turn our lives and souls over to hand-held technology, never straying more than an ear bud away from the next caller or email or hot new tune, and then we wonder why our face-to-face relationships fail.

See what I mean? It’s confusing.

Obviously, I don’t have answers to all of this confusion (I’m still trying to figure out why you call a pair of pants “a pair of pants” but you don’t call a shirt “a pair of shirts”). I can only assume that the way to sift through the confusing messages of our day has something to do with focusing on what you truly value and trusting what you absolutely know to be true.

Bible philosopher/evangelist/letter-writer Paul knew a little something about confusion, having successfully negotiated the personal transition from persecutor to saint. “Prove all things,” he said. “Hold fast that which is good.”

Even if it requires some pre-meditated, first-degree loitering.

(To read more by Joseph B. Walker please go to

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