VALUE STORIES
What value defines you?

We all try to live by many different values, but usually one of them stands out a little more than the others... Is your value love? grit? giving back? What value defines you?

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GENEROSITY
A SMALL FIRE A friend had invited me to dinner at his new house. Right before I was due to arrive, he tried out the gas fireplace, which caused the insulation in the attic to ignite. When I got there, the roof was in flames, four fire engines were at work, and there were people standing around, watching. My friend found me...
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OPPORTUNITY
JASON'S VISION Jason is a man with vision. He lives in a rural Levy County area and saw a need. People with disabilities in this community had limited choices and not much of a chance of reaching their goals or fulfilling their dreams. He began by opening a gift shop, and has not only created a place for his friends and...
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LEARNING
SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE Larry gave us "Direction" in more ways than he could ever know. For the better part of 35 years, Larry's life has revolved around searching out the finest music and then sharing his treasured finds through teaching and directing students and adults alike - always seeking that moment of perfection in performing...
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COURAGE
SOMEONE I COULD TRUST I had been suffering from anorexia and bulimia for more than a year when she first started asking me what was wrong. I didn't want to tell her; not because she was my math teacher and it was "uncool" to get close to teachers- it was because I was afraid to trust. The past year had been a rough one, and I felt...
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FORGIVENESS
MISLEADING APPEARANCE That was an unusually dark winter night. I was on my way home from work on the ghastly quiet road of my hometown. I drove my bicycle alone. It was midnight when I finished my third shift. Winter wind kept tapping my face as I tried to rush home. Suddenly, I noticed one man with a long hair, riding behind me...
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RIGHT CHOICES
A TEACHER'S LESSON We stood there on the corridor of our classroom talking with our English teacher, not on academic matters but on general issues. He was really speaking with us as if we were full adults. We were still in our penultimate class in high school. In the cause of our discussion my friend made a comment. Then our...
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TRUST
TRUST I bought a violin from a man who lives a long distance away. I had contacted him by phone after being given information about him by my violin teacher. The violin seller asked for my name and address, and we agreed that he would send me the violin, I would send him my old one, and after he had evaluated my old...
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TEACHING BY EXAMPLE
THE CONNECTION Like most of my fellow actors in New York I was "between jobs" and making ends meet as a lunch waiter in a small high quality Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village. I was a lousy waiter. I enjoyed the customers and didn't mind the work, but my ADD kept me from coordinating all the details a good waiter needs to...
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FORGIVENESS
PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGY You probably remember me from the other day. I was the one who reacted very slowly to the green traffic light. When you honked your horn, I realized I was holding up traffic, so please accept my apology. However, I do want you to know why I seemed in a daze. You see, I was just at the doctor's office getting the...
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OPPORTUNITY
AN OLD DUTCHMAN TEACHES ME WORK ETHIC Being from a well-to-do family didn't excuse me from work in the summer. My Dad, raised during the Great Depression, realized the benefits and discipline of hard work. He didn't want me to grow up soft. When I was sixteen, he sent me to work with Martin Brock, a sixty-something farmer. It was early June in...
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ENCOURAGEMENT
HOW YOU GOING TO FEED THAT PIG? "How you going to feed that pig?" Dad's question rendered me speechless. I had been saving to buy a pig for months, and when somebody gave me a dollar for my sixth birthday, I had $5 to buy the pig. Then he said: "I have a deal for you. I'll furnish the feed for your pig, and you can furnish the labor to feed...
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FRIENDSHIP
PEGGY Susie May Isaacs, my great-grandmother, was a beautiful woman, both in person and in spirit. She lived through two World Wars and the Great Depression. She was born in a dugout in Western Oklahoma to a Cheyenne Indian father and white mother during a time of great upheaval for the Native Americans in the Oklahoma...
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CARING
BEING THERE New York City- One hot summer day I was rushing late to my workplace on the Upper West Side. As I cut through a small park I heard a woman sobbing. Rather wailing I should say, as if she were bursting with the pain of all life. The sound was so striking that I stopped immediately in my tracks to find out where it...
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REACHING OUT
LEARNING TO GIVE In the United States we have many material blessings available to us. However, oftentimes we do not share those blessings with others. While on a trip to Romania I learned a very important law of life: give of yourself and your possessions every chance you have. During July of 1999, I, along with eight others,...
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HELPING OTHERS
WORTH MORE THAN MONEY I remember going to LaborReady in Long Island City, Queens to find work. I had enough money for the carfare there; I was hungry and hoped that the agency would find work and pay me for the day. By the end of the day, there was no work for me. I left; I was hot and tired but I had no money to go home. I worked up...
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