Too often we all feel the pull of wanting to be a part of the “in crowd.” Whether it is wearing the right jeans, listening to a certain band on the iPod, or driving the right car, too many of us can fall into the trap of using material objects to be popular. But being popular doesn’t always mean that we have friends we can count on. Loyalty is the quality or state of being faithful to a person or institution to whom fidelity is due. Loyalty comes from the Latin word lex, meaning law. Loyalty is based on principle and commitment, rather than circumstance. When stress and difficulties challenge those commitments, loyalty responds with resolute faithfulness.
Canada Geese illustrate loyalty by guarding their nests and chicks against all intruders. The majestic birds also remain faithful to one mate throughout their lifetime, which can be as long as 20 years. Although Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, a law which saved the species from extinction in the 1920s, many of the birds live in one location year-round. Canada Geese have become part of our developed landscape, favoring parks, campuses, and golf courses.
I Will Statements
- I will serve my family and teachers.
- I will encourage others in hard times.
- I will not mock authorities.
- I will point out the good in others.
- I will honor my country.
It is easy to fall into a pit of negativity or complaining about siblings or teachers. One negative encounter can be the catalyst for an avalanche of “glass-half empty” comments. When you hear family members making negative comments about someone, challenge them to instead say something positive about that person. You might even want to make it part of your evening routine for each family member to compliment one thing about other family members. This positive reinforcement builds stronger bonds between siblings and increases loyalty among family members. (And, the bottom line is that happy thoughts decrease stress and lower blood pressure, making things better for both the complimenter and the complimentee.)
Election days offer excellent opportunities to show loyalty to our country. The polls will be open that day and we are given the responsibility to select those who will lead our state and represent Oklahoma in Congress. Based on voter turnout, many people have put aside this responsibility. But the vote of the people is a cornerstone of our democracy. Set a good example by taking your children with you when you go to the polls.
This month’s “I will” statements touch on a wide range of topics. Discuss what each statement means with your family and decide together if there is one you would like to focus on. You can also set goals to make the “I will” statements a part of your daily routine. Taking about the challenges and progress made on those goals can enhance family bonding and strengthen loyalty.
Two of the most fun examples of loyalty are the movies Toy Story and Toy Story 2. These computer-animated adventures explore the bonds of friendship and illustrate loyalty –whether you are a cowboy or a space cadet.
- The Fine Art of Friendship by Ted W. Engstrom reminds adult readers of the importance of building and maintaining quality relationships.
- Young readers will enjoy The Little Green Goose by Adele Sansone. The fanciful tale explores the loyalty between a parent and a child.
- Junie B., First Grader (At Last!) by Barbara Park is a beginning chapter book that looks at the ups and downs of making new friends and keeping old ones.