Quality of life is directly related to the quality and strength of relationships. Therefore, a high priority of the TOV Center is assist Members in creating and growing strong TOV Values-Based Relationships. “TOV” is a Hebrew word from an ancient text that describes acts that “protect life, preserve life, make life more functional and increase the quality of life.” When both parties in a relationship are committed to TOV Core Values, the relationship will be strong.
In addition to relationships with other people, we also have relationships with nature and the environments in which we live. TOV Values include the responsibility of doing acts of TOV that affects those relationships too.
A core American value, and a TOV Value, is the "pursuit of happiness." For many people today, their understanding of what drives health and happiness has centered on the concrete -- food, earning power, exercise, drugs, etc. But now we know that cigarettes, salt, animal fat, and being fat shorten our lives, while antibiotics, physical activity, and the right diet prolong it. New research provides amazing information about the importance of relationships with the people we know and care about -- relationships are just as critical to our survival. By relationship, the report wasn't talking about just any kind of social contact -- it is about relationships that takes place in real time, face-to-face. Beginning from the first moments of life and at every age and stage, close contact with other people affects how we think, whom we trust, and where we invest our money. Our social ties influence our sense of satisfaction with life, our cognitive skills, and how resistant we are to infections and chronic disease.
With the rise of Consumerism and the explosive growth in Social Media since 2007, more Americans are experiencing a relationships crisis. According to recent surveys, growing numbers of Americans report that they have no confidants. Americans are becoming isolated individuals, many are losing or not developing communication skills required to create and maintain relationships. Instead of understanding the value of relationships, millions are now on a consumerism-driven quest for constant, seamless self-expression and instant gratification.
The relationship crisis has become so advanced and pervasive since the explosive growth of social media -- it is now undermining the essential social structures of everyday life. In everything from eating and socializing to marriage and parenting to politics, the norms and expectations of our self-centered culture are making it steadily harder to behave in civic, social ways. We struggle to make, or keep, long-term commitments. We find it harder to engage with, or even tolerate, people or ideas that don’t relate directly and immediately to us. Empathy weakens, and with it, our faith in the idea essential to a working democracy -- we share some things in common.
It is a fact of life that humans depend on other humans for their very survival -- and that requires relationships. Chances for survival and quality of life increase as the quality and number of strong face-to-face relationships increase. They are the foundation blocks of our individual lives and the societies in which we collectively live. Creating, guarding and protecting our relationships are very important TOV Values.