Here are the final three American Values as identified by L. Robert Kohls in “The Values Americans Live By.” (Lehigh University –Career and Profession Development) The invitation is “to think about these things.”
Directness, Openness and Honesty: Many other countries have developed subtle, sometimes highly ritualistic, ways of informing other people of unpleasant information. Americans, however, have always preferred the direct approach. They are likely to be completely honest in delivering their negative evaluations. If you come from a society which uses the indirect manner of conveying bad news, you will be shocked at Americans’ bluntness. Americans consider anything other than the most direct and open approach to be dishonest and insincere and will quickly lose confidence in and distrust for anyone who hints at what is intended rather than saying it outright.
Practicality and Efficiency: Americans have a reputation of being an extremely realistic, practical and efficient people. The practical consideration is likely to be given highest priority in making any important decision in the United States. Americans pride themselves in not being very philosophically or theoretically oriented. If Americans would even admit to having a philosophy, it would probably be that of pragmatism. Will it make any money? Will it “pay its own way?” What can I gain from this activity?” The popular American “trial-and error” approach to problem-solving also reflects the practical.
Materialism/Acquisitions: Foreigners generally consider Americans much more materialistic than Americans are likely to consider themselves. Americans would like to think that their material objects are just the natural benefits which always result from hard work and serious intent — a reward, they think, which all people could enjoy were they as industrious and hardworking as Americans. But by any standard, Americans are materialistic. This means that they value and collect more material objects than most people would ever dream of owning. It also means they give higher priority to obtaining, maintaining and protecting their material objects than they do in developing and enjoying interpersonal relationships. Since Americans value newness and innovation, they sell or throw away their possessions frequently and replace them with newer ones.
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:8
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Do you agree that a Directness, Openness and Honesty, Practicality and Efficiency and Materialism/Acquisitions are American values? If so why? If not why not?
What is your most useful material possession?
How have you reflected excellence?
Prayer: Holy God, fill me with your goodness. Let me be more mindful of others and more willing to care. Help me reflect excellence and live a life worthy of the gospel. Amen.
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