Where are YOU looking for GOLD?
by Chava Ball, Village Engagement Director, Community Connections, Northwest Neighbors Connecting, part of CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assitance Inc., in Baltimore)
Reprint from NNC Newsletter
When I was a teenager, I watched an old Western
and heard an old prospector say, “ ere’s GOLD in them there hills.” (My mom was quick to point out that it wasn’t proper English, BUT I got the point of his statement.) He believed there was hidden value in those hills.
1) What do WE consider valuable? One person’s trash is someone else’s treasure. You have to know what you are looking
for. I read an article once about a break-in at a store. An unidentified person had entered the store undetected and had changed the prices on many items. (That was before the day of bar codes.) The price of expensive merchandise was changed to cheap prices. The cheap things had big price tags. No one discovered what had happened until later in the day. They had been robbed in an unconventional way. The lesson for us is that sometimes we put value on things that are not all that important, and we put little value on things that have great value. My dad used to tell me, “Don’t sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate.” Know what is truly valuable.
2) HOW do WE know it has value? When I was teaching school, I took a new $20 bill to school for show-and-tell. I asked my students, “What is this?” They confirmed that they recognized that it was worth $20 and they could use it to buy things. I then spit on the bill, crushed it into a tiny ball, put it under my foot and stomped on it. I am sure you can imagine the shocked looks on the faces of my young students.
I slowly unfolded the bill and asked, “Now what is it worth?” One little boy said, “Nothing!” “Do you mean to tell me that I can’t buy anything with this?” He changed his mind and agreed you could still spend it.
Why is it still worth $20? Itis still worth $20 because it was created to be a $20 bill. Its value did not depend on how it was treated. It was created with value.
Sometimes we think our value is determined by how we are treated. We have value because we were created by God to have value.
3)Where do YOU look for gold? You don’t go “prospecting” where you do not see the value you want. For instance, if you are looking for gold, you wouldn’t use a fishing pole in a lake to find it. You would find fish there. I heard someone say once, “People are the currency of Heaven.” What we invest in people has eternal value.
4) HOW do WE feel about OUR value? About 25 years ago while driving, I saw huge black clouds in the Texas sky in front of me. “Oh, no!” I thought, “It looks like a big storm is coming in.” I took off my sunglasses and realized that the clouds were fluffy white cumulus clouds, but with my glasses they looked black. The clouds them- selves had not changed, but what
I had seen had changed. I realized that my attitude has the same effect as my dark glasses. My attitude affects how I see the world around me.
5) If we think there is value in the lessons we have learned during our lives, we will act differently NOW. We will want to share the wisdom and skills we have learned.
6) We are not too old to make a difference. When one of my favorite friends was 100 years old she was still making a difference in the world around her just by being who she was—connecting and communicating with those who came to help her. She was blind and had to have assistance to get around, but she inspired a young aide to quit smoking and much, much more!
What can I do?
Determine what is valuable and important to you.
Describe the life lessons, skills and qualities you want to share. (Make a list.)
Do an attitude check. Does my attitude keep me from the very thing I want?
Decide to take the first step in reaching out to connect to Northwest Neighbors Connecting (NNC).
Discover new opportunities to “prospect” and make a difference.
Do it TODAY!
-Chava Ball, is a Member of the Maryalnd Community of Practice and Director of Village Engagement at Northwest Neighbors Connecting, CHAI in Baltimore, MD