Some Weights Don't Measure Up
When it comes to weighing things, some kilos just don’t measure up. In 1989, the National Research Council of Canada paid fifty thousand dollars for a new official kilogram weight. They purchased a shiny, palm-sized cylinder of corrosion-resistant alloy of ninety per cent platinum and ten per cent iridium, from France.The French kilogram is the standard mass of the metric system. It is the one from which all other masses in the world are determined by comparison.
However, the cost of buying our copy of the original kilogram is nothing compared with the cost of storing and maintaining it. Like the original kilogram, our official weight is kept in a specially controlled air bell and locked in a secure vault in Ottawa. The French kilogram is only rarely removed from the Paris vault so that lesser kilograms from around the world can see how they measure up.
When our official kilogram makes it’s trip to France to be checked out, nothing can be allowed to touch it. A thin layer of extra molecules would be disastrous. There are hundreds of scientists around the world going to great lengths to tip the scales exactly. They also fuss about perfect metres and perfect seconds, signing agreements to recognize each others’ standards only after careful scrutiny.
So next time you buy a few kilos of potatoes remember the effort that goes into verifying the accuracy of our measurements.
http://www.bipm.org/enus/5_Scientific/b_mass/mass.html [the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France.]
“Measuring up” is a big issue for us. No matter how hard we work, some of us feel we never can measure up – that is, be as good as we are expected to be.
Some work hard to meet a demanding parent’s expectations. Others are more concerned with what their friends think. Still others are motivated to achieve ever-higher goals by their drive to be as good as they themselves think they should be.
The inner drive to measure up is fed by seemingly constant comparisons and evaluations. As children we compare ourselves or are compared with other children. Social behaviour, academic achievement, artistic ability, and athletic prowess are all fair game to use in defining ourselves in relation to others. As we get older, the emphasis shifts to successful careers, material possessions, satisfying relationships (especially family), community respect and the like.
A certain amount of striving to measure up can be a healthy motivator for us. Yet, in excess, it can be debilitating to ourselves and damaging to important relationships and personal balance. It’s worth thinking about what drives us to act as we do. Sometimes the price of measuring up to unreasonable expectations is just too high.
When considering those with whom we compare ourselves and those whose evaluations of us count the most, it is a good idea to consider the spiritual realm. After all, if we accept a Creator God, we open ourselves to the possibility of having to measure up in His opinion of us.
Measuring up to God’s standards will always leave us feeling inadequate. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t be perfect all the time. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When we feel weak and less than we should be, we are more likely to turn to God to supply the inner strength we need to meet the pressures of the day.
While falling far short of accurately reflecting our Creator in the world around us, we can rest in the knowledge that He loves and accepts us anyway.
David Humphreys and Ron Hughes
© August 2004