Returning with Honor

So as to not sound like I'm just ranting all the time, I'll depart from recent topics for this episode.

As Jolayne mentioned, we took the kids to the Air Force Academy last weekend. Whenever visiting a base or seeing a display, I'm in awe at the power of the US military. It's not because of the size of the guns they carry; it's because of what they teach. They teach lessons that much of America seems to have forgotten. There's much wrong in the military, as everywhere. But there's still some things they teach that are spot on. At the academies especially, they teach you to become better than you are.

While at the visitors center, we came upon a display about the Honor Code. It's a simple code: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

For some reason, it was a powerful thing for me to read. It reminded me of the honor code while I was at BYU. At the time, I often resented certain implications of the big-brother nature that came with such a code. However, as I now look back, I'm grateful for such a code and what it represents. Integrity. Imagine how different our world would be if each leader in government, if each person in a position of trust, and if each person in a business were to abide by such a code. The power would be awesome.

We took a moment to teach our kids what it meant to have honor and integrity. Though we've spoken of these terms at home before, the kids quickly forget. I taught them the importance of being different from everyone else; of leading where others would rather follow, and of choosing the right even when no one knows. It was intensely rewarding to see the flicker in their eyes, and I knew that they knew; that for just for a second, they got it. (Then they went back to being normal kids.)

Another phrase we teach at my house is "Where much is given, much is required." We are so blessed in our society. Indeed, in my own life I am blessed with everything I need and much of what I want. I'm in the smallest fraction of minorities, when you consider all who have ever lived and the conditions of their lives. And yet I often find it easy to get ticked off about little things like recycled napkins, continuous feed toilet paper, and voice-prompted phone trees. It's easy to lose focus and to look beyond the mark. It's a problem for our whole society, and keeps us from being better than we are. It's a plague that causes us as a society to blame things on others and shirk responsibilities ourselves. After all, we see it in the news every day. Nothing is anyone's fault. Political agendas seem to rule each day's headlines, and often, simple actions are misinterpreted and laid out as something much more nefarious than originally intended. Nearly everything can be considered a conspiracy if we look hard enough.

So here's a challenge for America. Be better than you are. Stop blaming others for problems and find a way to do something instead of simply complaining. Create yourself an honor code and then commit to live by it. When you leave home each day, commit to return with honor and then act to do so. The outcome will be extraordinary.

And your children will notice.


Jolayne said…
So many reasons why I love you.

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