Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Dignity and Respect For Everyone’s Values

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“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” ~ Jon Stewart

It’s important to have and believe in personal values, but it is important to recognize that others also have their own personal values.  When you volunteer to help your community, you are not volunteering to set others straight and put them in line with how you think and believe.  It is not the place for anyone to force their beliefs onto anyone else, and vice versa.

At the time of this writing, there are vigilante groups on the streets enforcing Sharia Law in the United Kingdom.  Sharia is not the law in the UK, nor is it legal to enforce it there.  Clearly it is a belief value system held by some people, but it also clearly does not treat others with dignity and respect.  Although an extreme example, it illustrates my point boldly.  Not only should you treat others as you wish to be treated yourself, but do not treat others in a way you would not wish to be treated also.

Compromising with others does not mean you are compromising your values, it means you are coming to an understanding with someone else.  You have your values, they have theirs, as long as no harm is being done and no laws being broken, it’s all cool.  Live and let live.

I’m addressing this concern simply for the fact that it is not uncommon for volunteers to step forward mistakenly believing that they are going to remake the neighborhood in their own image, according to their beliefs, religion, or whatever.  This sort of moral superiority, and know-it-all mentality, often blinds them to reality, causes conflicts, and eventually leads to trouble sooner or later.  You must nip it in the bud when it rears its head, either by recognizing it and dealing with it when you find it in yourself, or others in your group.  Intolerance can not be tolerated for the sake of getting along.  It is an issue that must be dealt with before there are problems, not afterward.

Self-righteousness, intolerance, and an uncompromising personality, will doom your efforts to failure from the outset.   Take stock of the motives of yourself and your teammates.  Address problems and encourage learning more about dignity and respect for others.  You’re of no help to anyone when you approach situations willing to see only one side of things.

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Written by Silver Sentinel

April 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

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