Honor and respect is earned through consistent honorable and respectable behavior. Honor involves honesty, fairness and integrity in one’s beliefs and actions. It requires, being truthful, treating others with the utmost honor and respect, honoring your debts, taking personal responsiblity for your actions, and being of service to others.
It is not okay to lie, name call, defame, cheat and be disrespectful. IT IS NOT OKAY! As members of the greatest democratic society in the world and of all times, it is our responsiblity to act with the honor and respect necessary to maintain the high ideals required by American democracy. This needs to be demonstrated from all, especially from the top down.
Honesty, honor and respect were taught me at an early age. When I was around six or seven years old, I was helping my family with household chores and found some coins on the floor. These coins would have purchased a king’s ransom of penny candy at the corner store. But instead of pocketing the coins, I showed them to my Dad. He said thanks for showing him the coins that I found and as a reward for my honesty I could keep them. I was honored for my honesty which resulted in respect for myself and for honesty in general.
Another memorable opportunity for practicing honor occurred when I was around nine years old. My Grandmother loved gladiolus flowers and when we would visit her we would pass a roadside stand that only sold cut gladiolus flowers. When my parents felt that I was old enough, they allowed me to go to the stand with the correct amount of money by myself while they stayed in the car. The roadside stand was unmanned and the purchase was based on the honor system. The customer picked out the bouquet they liked best and then put the money in a cigar box along with the money from previous customers. So, I picked the bouquet I thought my Grandmother would like best and I put the money in the cigar box to join the money already there. As I closed the cigar box and returned to the car I felt a great sense of pride and self-respect that I was trusted to be honest and honorable even when no one was watching.
Honor and respect require adhering to social norms (unwritten ethical behavior) that uphold the common good. It is essential to our democracy that our leaders demonstrate honor and respect. It is vitally important to remember this when we vote.