LOVING PEOPLE AND USING THINGS.....
This is certainly an ideal most of us would admit to striving towards. Who would honestly want to use people?! But, alas, who can help but falling in love with their "things"? (Especially with the nearly limitless number of wonderful "things" to own in this day and age.) It is so incidious, however, that most people don't even realize that their things have become more dear to them than people.
As a mother of small children, I frequently get to witness how much more value "things" hold than people, especially if they are little people. The things take on even more importance if they are threatened by the little people. People feel hurt and disrespected when their "things" are not respected and "loved" by others as they think they should be. The owners feel that this gives them free license to disrespect the offending child, and the child's feelings are irrelevant.
My children understand about being careful with other people's property. They know that they are responsible for fixing or replacing something of someone's if they break or lose it. They do not purposefully set out to damage other people's property. So, if in their energetic youthfulness they accidentally damage something, I will not berate them for it. I will help them find a way to remedy the situation and to avoid a recurrance. I don't expect them to respect other people's "things", OR to respect other people who DON'T respect them.
If someone loves their things more than my children, even though they profess otherwise, my kids can see right through their actions to their heart. They will ask to leave places when they know they aren't respected and valued as much as the furniture, and I can hardly blame them.
This is yet another one of the MANY ways in which the simple wisdom of my children is re-educating me daily. Their unpretentious honesty keeps the heart at the heart of ALL matters.