I was talking to my Father-in-law this past weekend and we were discussing the state of our country among other things. Our conversation had drifted from the recent firings of some college coaches to the economy and eventually to how screwed up the way we do business has become. Specifically we talked about the lack of honor throughout our culture.
Dad made a statement that I really liked. He told me to just wait that the pendulum would swing back and eventually it would be an attribute to have honor once again. I took comfort in this. Tom, though in his late 70’s, is still active in his local SCORE chapter. He has been in the banking sector all of his life. He is highly respected in his local business community and is considered a man of honor. He hasn’t lost his compassion or his passion for his fellow man. He’s a wonderful example of honor not only in the work place but also in his private life. You won’t meet a more caring and giving man and I want to be just like him when I grow up.
So what about this honor thing? Just what is it? Where do you get it? If we’ve lost it can we find it once again? I looked the word up to get a better understanding of it. One of its meanings is to adhere to what is right and/or a conventional standard of conduct. One standard of conduct that comes to mind is the golden rule: do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. This is so simple, clear, and concise, yet so very hard to do. Why?
Why is it hard to have honor? Why is it that we as a people have allowed our leaders to become dishonorable? Not just the politicians but corporate and religious leaders as well? Can’t say I really know why. Most of us were raised to have honor. Most of us were taught the golden rule by our parents, our teachers and our religious leaders. We, as a nation, pride ourselves on being a country “under God” yet our culture promotes the get for yourself, no matter what attitude. Wrongdoing and dishonor is glorified in our media. Regularly now, there our stories in the national news about someone who stole huge amounts of money, had sex outside marriage, lied about taking drugs, I could go on and on. We are so numbed to wrongdoing that we just don’t seem to care any more. We’ve lost our outrage.
I strongly believe that honor is important in our daily lives. Not just our private ones but in our business and public lives as well. I believe we need to find our national conscience once again and make it sensitive once again to doing wrong. I think we the people need to expect more from our leaders and ourselves when it comes to honor. We need to be outraged when we hear of wrongdoing no matter what the level or who is doing it. We need to practice it daily in our own lives at all costs. Honor should be the norm not the exception.
We can start with the little things. Honesty is a big part of honor. We can, as individuals, begin by practicing complete honesty and expecting those around us to do the same. You see it’s not just enough to be honest we also have to expect honesty in return. We need to hold each other accountable. In this way all boats rise as we once again reclaim our country’s honor. Once you master honesty move on to fair dealing, fair play, and looking out for the other fellow.
I challenge you (as well as myself) to be a person of honor. I also challenge you and I to do business with people of honor. From there you can reach out to the rest of this great country and expect honor from our leaders. It all begins with us the individual. We have the power to bring honor once again to our country. We can teach it to our children, we can teach it in our schools. This is not a religious issue this is an issue of national concern because without it we will fail. We will fail in our neighborhoods, our communities, our towns, our cities, and eventually in the world. Let’s get that pendulum swinging back and let’s reclaim our place of honor.