If you were to take a piece of gold ore and a piece of iron pyrites, place them side by side and ask random people to select the most valuable stone, the majority would most likely choose the pyrites – also know as Fool’s Gold… And why not? After all, it’s shiny and has a glitter that true gold can not match in its raw form… yet it has virtually no value. True gold has a dull luster and only becomes bright after being put through flame to have the impurities burned out and then polished. It’s not much different with people … I am always amazed by how impressed most folks are with “glitter” and those individuals that are coated in it… In a conversation this morning I was told to extend credit to an individual without the requisite credit check simply because “…he’s been here forever.” My response was to observe that shysters and con men have to live somewhere… To judge an individuals’ worth by their social status in this extremely small, pompous community leads to a very narrow view of what is really important in life… I have lived in many small towns and this one seems to embody many of the negative traits of such places. It’s not all bad though… there are good people here as well… Sometimes it’s harder to see them because they aren’t as “shiny”… I’m glad I was raised to value the “man” and not the “money”… We were taught that no job is without honor if it’s done well… if you are a ditch digger and you do your job to the best of your ability then you and your craft are to be as esteemed as the jewel merchant or any other businessman… I guess that it’s because of this I’ve never cared about how much money someone might have or what their family did… what have they done?… how do they treat others? To me those traits are what determines a persons’ value… One of my favorite lines from Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ is “All that is gold does not glitter…” I hope I can always discern the difference.