Over the years I have spent countless hours reflecting on where I stand in the world and what my core values are, so thinking and writing about this now is not a new experience for me. Although I have many values in life that I grip to strongly, I am meant to choose only five. So, then, let’s get right into it!
Of all the things I feel are important for anyone to have, I feel it’s most important to be kind and concerned before anything else. People often talk of how being kind is useless, or that it gets them nowhere. To that, I respectfully disagree. Without attempting to sound narcissistic, I can say confidently that being kind to others throughout my life has earned me great friends and a reputation as a generous and loving person. Though that may not seem much to some, it is everything to me; I am honoured to be considered by others as a trustworthy and good person, because I’d like to believe that that is who I am. I rarely do good deeds for some kind of recognition because I don’t feel that I need that to get by. The reward I receive from assisting others, usually strangers, is not tangible, like a trophy or plaque- my reward is a smile, and the security of knowing that the person I’ve just met with is currently okay. As a CYCP, this value of mine might help me start relationships and keep them going with various clients, and I look forward to this, especially if they’re someone who has never had a compassionate person in their life; I want to be this for them. This leads into the next value that I’ve listed…
On top of compassion, I believe that empathy is a necessary part of life. Certainly, compassion gets people very far in building relationships and being outwardly kind to others, but without empathy, just how far could that compassion really go? To be empathetic is to, metaphorically, put oneself into someone else’s shoes, and walk a mile in them. Having the emotional capacity to care about most things, even if they have no relation to you, is vital in child and youth care, because a CYCP must work within the milieu of a client; they see that the client has found themselves in a hole, unable to escape alone, and they climb inside the hole as well, and come up with a plan with that person to get out together. Empathy for other people creates a special sort of connectedness between oneself and all others, because one’s main concern becomes the wellbeing of the others. A CYCP who lacks empathy would not last long in the field, because they would not climb into the hole with a client; they would stand at the edge, and stare.
To have respect for all things, living and nonliving, is huge. Respect transcends age, ethnicity, gender, orientation or anything else that could be viewed by others, who lack respect for those things, as wrong. Respect is more than tolerance; it is the understanding of the similarities and differences, accomplishments and even failures of others and viewing them without bias. In the field of child and youth care, respect deserves to be given everywhere, even in places that some believe it should not. Regardless of the past experiences and actions of a client, a CYCP must respect that client, because the practitioner has no idea what the client has experienced until they begin to speak. Similarly, one can have no idea of the life experiences of any other person, and so I propose that respect should not be earned, but rather, it should be given until there is reason for it to be taken away. Respect others that you come across in life, and treat them with kindness and fairness, because, for all you know, they may truly deserve it and be in need of it.
Everything that I’ve mentioned previous can exist within someone without needing this value, but it certainly helps. Possessing wisdom draws the line between being skillful in conversation and in aiding others or lacking tact and, in some cases, general knowledge of things. Being wise is about being knowledgeable of methodology in whatever field you work in, and it is also about being knowledgeable of the ways of the world. Ergo, it can apply to things both scientific and non-scientific (emotion, for example). Wisdom can assist in the respect of others, because it can mean having knowledge of a person’s past choices and experiences, and the reasons for why those things and their potential consequences took place. In my opinion, then, wisdom is essential for any human to possess, because it creates a sense of knowing, and amplifies the other values that I’ve already spoken of.
This one may seem a tad out of place compared to the others, but I genuinely believe that it is important for people to understand humour and have a sense of humour of their own. Without it, I feel the world would seem a bit more dull; without it, innumerable reasons to smile would vanish. Using humour is also a great way to start a conversation, lighten the mood, or find common ground with someone else, and that includes the clients of a CYCP. Some people just like to laugh and take a bit of time to process unpleasant life events and situations; to give them that respite and make them laugh could be just what that person needs, so wouldn’t it be nice to accomplish that for them? Of course! CYCPs who can effectively use humour with their clients (when it counts) could likely build faster and stronger relationships with those same clients. Who doesn’t like to laugh, anyways?