A Return to Honor

ImageAs I write this, our country is celebrating Memorial Weekend. During this time, we remember those who have served, suffered and died in our military. We honor our veterans, living and dead, and such honor is well deserved. We don’t do it often enough.


The focus of this weekend has led me to consider the concept of honor. What does it mean, exactly? Is it a practice lost in today’s culture? Does it still have value on a personal and a societal level?


While there are several definitions for the word “honor,” I want to discuss the verb, as in “We will honor those who came before us.” For example, this Memorial Weekend we remember, acknowledge and “honor” our veterans. Webster includes the definition: ”a showing of usually merited respect. “


Honoring those whose actions or positions have merited such respect is appropriate, but what about everyday expressions of honor? How might our lives change if we honored those who live under our own roof? Do you honor your spouse or your children? Do you honor your friends, co-workers or the many people you meet as you go through your day?


We often think that honoring someone suggests that we consider them to be above us, but is that really true? We can perceive the other person as equal to us, and still honor them. We can show them “merited respect” through our actions, our words, and our tone of voice.


What do you think would happen to your personal relationships if you behaved in a manner that honored those you encounter each day? Do you think honoring your spouse might contribute to a more positive relationship?  Do you think your children might be healthier and happier if your tone and words honored them? You can honor someone and still maintain proper boundaries and expectations.


What about yourself? Do you honor yourself? Do you treat yourself with the respect you give to others? Does your self-talk convey a tone of honor toward self? Do your choices and behaviors demonstrate a sense of honor toward self? Self-esteem wounds often prohibit any expressions of self-honor. Likewise, treating yourself with honor helps to heal self-esteem wounds.


Try to maintain an awareness of honor as you go through your day. Let your words, tone of voice and behaviors reflect honor toward those around you and toward yourself. Watch what happens.



Question: Can you share experiences where you did show honor toward another and saw a positive outcome? Can you share an experience where your attitude or behavior changed because someone honored you?


Do You Want a Wonderful Life?

ImageMy all-time favorate movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. I totally agree that it is sentimental (read sappy) and idealistic, but I love it anyway. It remnds me of positive memories of past Christmas holidays and conveys some important truths.

As the movie opens, we see scenes from George Bailey’s early life, where he dreams of a life of success and travels around the world, building big buildings and bridges. He gets married and has children, but several life events destroy his dreams of success.

Already bitter and depressed, a financial mistake pushes George Bailey over the edge and he goes out to attempt suicide. At this point, an angel named Clarence, shows George the many ways he has positively touched others during his life. George finally realizes that he has had a rich and wonderful life.

The movie illustrates several truths:

1. Our lives often take a different course than the one we planned or dreamed, and sometimes this is a good thing.

2. Our most important actions in life may be the ones that received the least attention.

3. A life is better measured by the number of other lives positively touched, than by the projects completed or the money earned.

4. Life itself is a wonderful gift, and should not be ended prematurely. Suicide is always a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The pain is just passed on to those left behind

This week, look for opportnities to positvely touch those around you. It truly is a wonderful life.

Question: Have you gleaned some particular wisdom from a movie? If so, please share it here.

Everyone Has A Story

Waitress“To be a person is to have a story to tell.”   Isak Dineson

We see so many people each day. Some we know. Most we don’t. Most of the time, we don’t even really see their faces. They may help us check out at the grocery store, pass us on the sidewalk or even work down the hall. It’s easy for such people to become part of our background noice as we go through our day.

Then there are those people we think we know. They may work with us, attend our church or live down the street. Of course, we do know more about their lives. We know some parts of their lives, but we often assume we know everything of importance. We tend to assume that we know their story, but do we really?

Last night, my wife and I were eating at a restaurant in a nearby town. The server was a very pleasant young woman with an easy smile. After taking our order, she commented that she had already had an eventful day. She went on to say that she had a phone conversation with her long-lost brother and that they had not spoken for eighteen years. She added that he had some disabilities due to fetal alcohol syndrome.

While that was all the personal information she shared, it was enough to remind me that she did, in fact, have a story. Was she adopted? Was her brother removed from the home because of her mother’s drinking? Did she grow up in a foster home? Did she have to deal with the problem of an alcoholic parent during her childhood? Of course, I have no idea, but I do know that there is more to the story than she shared.

Did she look sad, rejected or abused? Not at all. She was grinning that her brother had made the effort to find her and that she now had contact with him. She said she planned to meet him for lunch soon. She was excited and happy.

When we live our lives with the awareness that everyone has a story, we tend to feel more connected. We belong because we too have our story. We are reminded that we are not different.

Maintaining the awareness that everyone has a story also helps us cultivate an attitude of compassion. We tend to be more kind, more understanding. Assuming that others have their story helps you look deeper at those around you. Looking deeper helps you notice more clues that those people have their own story. Seems to be a circular process, doesn’t it?

Question: Can you share some events that reminded you that everyone has a story? Did it effect your perception of the person?  Did you find yourself liking the person more when you learned more about their story?