The Danger of Valuing Principles Over People Sep20

The Danger of Valuing Principles Over People...

Growing up, I always tried to be the “obedient kid”—the one who followed all the rules and stayed out of trouble. Coupled with the fact that I usually kept to myself, this made it very easy for me to look down on those who didn’t abide by the same rules I did. I’d engage with people, but I always carefully judged them against my standards. As a result of my constant judgment, I pushed myself further and further into isolation, always keeping my distance from those who didn’t live up to my values. This mindset became very toxic in my mid-to-late teen years. As I got older, my standards grew higher and higher, and I found myself mentally denouncing just about everyone around me. Church groups, circles of friends, school activities—I saw what I believed to be major flaws in all of them, and I used these as excuses to disassociate myself from many of these people. The two main characters of the anime Death Note, Light and L, both adhere strongly to their own ideas about what’s right and wrong. They also each possess the ability to impose their philosophies on the world around them: Light has a notebook with which he can kill anyone just by writing their names, and tries to purge the world of crime by killing convicted criminals. Meanwhile L, who is heralded as the world’s greatest detective and has access to many of the world’s law enforcement resources, views Light’s actions as murder and begins hunting him down. Viewers often take sides with one of these two characters; after all, they’re both driven by seemingly noble goals. Yet, they also share the same crippling flaw: they value their principles more than they value people. They each believe themselves...

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This....

Mid-summer birthdays are lonely. I mean sure, they’re spaced far enough away from Christmas that the “Kyle’s temporary material happiness fund” should be well stocked, but most of my friends were off on vacation and unable to attend an appropriately large birthday bash. However, in the summer of 1986 I could not have been more thankful for the solitude. In my hands I held the iconic gold cartridge of the original Legend of Zelda. I had maps, I had snacks, and I had a stack of Nintendo Power magazines by my side; I was ready to go. But none of those provisions were necessary when I directed Link into that first cave. It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this. I explored a vast unknown world, discovered hidden dungeons, felt the tension of that last half heart, slew great beasts of legendary proportions, and ventured through seemingly infinite sequels—and it all began with my first sword. Recently, someone posted a meme featuring that phrase on my Facebook wall. The scene was the same. Same old bald man in a red suit. Same bonfires on either side. Except instead of a sword, Link was lifting up a cup of coffee. I realized the sword I want to give my little girl isn’t called education. It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this. ABSOLUTELY, I thought. The world without my coffee in the morning truly is a dangerous place. I pondered that phrase for the rest of the day. The world really is a dangerous place. What did I have in my bag of holding to deal with its dangers? More importantly, what was I equipping my four-year-old daughter with to prepare her for what she would face? It seems like every week I am re-posting a new picture of a...