In the U.S., we pride ourselves on being a classless society, but we’re really not.
We have our Hollywood idols, our political royalty, our Silicon Valley Influencers, and a selection of Instagram celebrities who are famous because . . . because . . .
Since we pride ourselves on efficiency as much as we do being classless, we tend to ascribe mental numbers to people, based upon a value we assign to what they do. Lawyers, doctors, politicians, successful entrepreneurs, financiers, scientists, and of course celebrities — these are “worth” more than others, presumably because they work harder, are smarter than others, and contribute more to the world around them. Or they’re very attractive.
They “deserve” their “success.”
Conversely, people with low paying jobs of little esteem — non-leaders, non-influential, non-important, non-rich — “deserve” their obscurity and society’s disdain.
“If they wanted to make something of themselves, they would,” we sniff.
The artwork, The Good Shepherd, invites us to turn around and walk the other way, approaching people from a different perspective.
Good shepherds — people who care for others, people who do the actual difficult and physical labor of watching over young children, or very ill people, or loved ones with long-range debilitations, carry some of the lowest scores in our societal classification score.
And yet to watch over sheep, to care for them, to protect them from harm and fight off predators, takes intelligence, alertness, acumen, perseverance, and determination — all of the elements we accord to professions with the highest value scores.
More importantly, good shepherds need to be kind, compassionate, patient, and truly caring because if they’re not, the sheep won’t and don’t trust them. These latter elements, the ones that are truly important if we want our planet to operate with the idea that all humans, not just a few, matter, are singularly unmentioned when we extol the value of the top-numbered career credit scores.
It would be nice if the planet’s important people possessed rich, deep character traits, but, we shrug, you can’t have everything.
That being so, it’s best to seek out — in ourselves and others — the traits that are truly worth something. No need to wait on the leaders for this one — their focus is on other things.
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