via Daily Prompt: Value

Yoruba Copper mask for King Obalufon, Ife, Nigeria c. 1300 C.E.

The Yorubas have quite a few things to say about value (Iye). Yoruba proverbs often provide a record of the distinct voice of the people on various subjects.

A k fi ran ikn gbn ti gbnrn n. This translates to:
One does not brush off antelope meat for squirrel meat
Meaning, never prefer something of little value to something of great value.

In Yoruba culture, antelope meat is definitely superior to squirrel meat (bear with me my vegetarian friends). Invariably it is advised that one learns the value of a thing and pursue it, crave it and desire it. At the same time, placing value on trifles is akin to foolishness and a suspicion of imbecility.

K ni w nn-u kt mta dnrn?
What is there to wear in a pair of trousers bought at three for three hundred cowries, or three a penny?
(Making) Much ado about a worthless thing.

What do the Yorubas value? In summary, what we value above all are relationships. This is reflected in the values we place on Marriage, Parenthood, and Elder respect. We  also value Education/Wisdom/Knowledge, the Arts/Beauty and Philosophy.

But what do I value?

In no particular order; Family, God, and love.

That’s it. Nothing else matters.

Experience has taught me that I can live without most things even if having those things make life a little more pleasant. Money is great to have but does not bring happiness where those three things are missing. Friends are great to have but can never be a substitute for family and so on.

Now saying you value something will not always be evident in the way you live your life. Someone says he values his family but spends 80% of his awake time at work and with friends. Also sometimes what you value can be at odds with what your culture or community values as a whole. This can be a source of tension (push/pull) in life as you struggle to balance your values with those of the world.

Your actions will show what you really value in life. I hope mine reflects those three things I’ve said I do value. Often times we must be vigilant so our actions and life reflect the core values of our heart.

What do you value?