Today, doing right almost seems wrong. As adults, it sometimes seems almost impossible to hold on to the same values we held in high esteem when we were younger. It’s great to have values but it is even greater when we dutifully stick to these values.
Everyone needs a standard in their life… and these standards should be standard. They shouldn’t vary according to where we find ourselves. Our standards should be same whether in our closets or in public. Society’s standards fall when our standards fall.
We all need a yardstick in our life that shouldn’t be lowered no matter the circumstances. Living in times where morality has become subjective, it is no surprise that corruption keeps eating deeper into our society. Where there are no standards to keep, morality takes a vacation!
Standards bring development. Where there are standards to keep, integrity is not sacrificed. In a society where standards can be compromised at the least opportunity, everything else is compromised. When you live a compromised life, you compromise your future.
Let me share with you this simple story on keeping standards. Back in JHS, our teachers decided to erect a basketball court for us. We somewhat wanted to be at par with the "dadabee" schools. Thing is, the standard height of a basketball hoop/rim (from which the net suspends) is 10ft from the ground. However, most of us were vertically challenged. 10ft seemed too much a chore for us.
Soon, we all gave up on our newfound love of a sport. Our ball could never find the rim no matter how hard we tried. To make the game enjoyable for us, the height was reduced to a whopping 5ft. Whoops! That was the first time I dunked!
Truth is, we enjoyed the game not because we were exceptionally skilled… but the standard had been exceptionally reduced. We could try all manner of stunts not because we were some Jordans… but the rim was only above our heads. When standards are lowered, anybody looks like an exceptionally great player!
In this life, others appear to be doing so well not because they are working any exceptionally harder. Their standards have been exceptionally reduced. They seem to have it all not because they earned it. They compromised their values for such. It is better to have little with our values than a lot with no values.
Lowering the standard of one's life opens the door for everyone and everything to enter. A life which has no standards to keep soon becomes the den of all substandard goods. It becomes the final destination of all trash. When we compromise on our values, our lives become like a public property; anyone can enter, abuse it and walk away freely!
You don’t need to compromise on your values for a man to stay. It is possible to get a job without giving in to someone’s libido. Getting a promotion at work for how skilled you’re in bed and not how skilled you’re at work… is not a norm. What you lower your standards to get, you obviously need to lower your standards to keep. If you compromise to earn one thing, you’d sadly need to make several other compromises to keep that same thing.
Today, many are reducing the height of the hoop in their life just to allow others in. At the least opportunity, they give in to pressure. Little do they know that the standards people keep sets them apart from the masses. The standards we set and keep in our life cuts us from others who will unnecessarily stress us out.
We couldn’t dunk when the rim was 10ft from the ground because we were not professional players. The 10ft standard height set professionals and amateurs apart. When we set standards in our lives, we set ourselves apart from others who will give in to anything that walks into their life. If our lives are tied to strictly-adhered-to values, we earn deep respect from others whose lives are not.
Our standards should be standard. They shouldn't vary according to who comes knocking. Our "Yes" should be our "Yes" and our "No" should remain so. If we refuse to reduce the rims in our lives, eventually our nation will be rid of every canker. The corruption in our individual lives collectively becomes the corruption sitting on the destiny of this nation.
Despite the indecency spat in our face every day, we can dare to be different. We can challenge ourselves to initiate the change we want to see. If we want to see a society where nothing is compromised on, we can start with our own lives.
Keeping to our standards means doing right even when others are offended. Sticking to our values will mean not lowering our standards even if it may hurt us. It is always better to remain steadfast in our values even if it makes us uncomfortable. That’s discipline!
For instance, we are living in a generation where we're afraid to offend our boy/girlfriends more than God; a generation where we're afraid to lose our boy/girlfriends over premarital sex… and hope that God understands. For how long will we come to know that it is better to lose man than God!?
Every bit of our lives should have a standard. When there's a standard, there's a cut-off requirement for those who want to enter. When our nation has standards, no one can dump substandard goods here. A nation that has standards to keep cuts itself from others who are not ready to keep those standards.
Where there are no standards, everything fits in. When we lower our standards, all manner of people walk into our lives, try all stunts… and even dunk. When we have no standards, we are undeservedly given what we actually deserve. If our standards are too far for others to reach, let them walk away. Don’t adjust your standards to fit theirs. Don't reduce the hoop!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing company which provides all writing services.