"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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On Loyalty


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , ,

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We had an opportunity for a life lesson with the children at the dinner table last night and it was one of those ones that kept me awake long into the night.  

Violet became visibly upset and teary-eyed at dinner when we asked her to tell us something about her day.  Thinking perhaps she might have got a word wrong in her spelling (oh the devastation!), we were surprised to find it was a social grievance and the culprit was her twin sister.  It seems that two of Abby's friends decided they didn't want to play with Violet anymore and persuaded Abby to join them against her.  My poor girl girl felt ganged-up-upon by her classmates and worse still, by her sister.  We pointed out to all our children that this sort of behaviour is actually bullying and, I am afraid to say, we came down hard on our Abby.  Our wee girl who is all sweetness and light...on the surface. 

It was an opportunity for a lesson in loyalty.  We emphasised to them that they are family and family means 100% loyalty, no matter what.  We told them that a sister relationship and a brother relationship is more important than anything else they can foster with friends, ever, in their lives.  That they are blood with each other.  That the bonds of blood are strong and hold forever.  That if one of their siblings is ever being picked on, or ever in need, that it is the role and responsibility of the others to stand up for them, to be there for them, no matter what it costs.  We were definitely clear and pretty emphatic.  I hope they got it.

I was awake into the night wondering if it was an appropriate and indeed necessary lesson for our 7-11 year old children or simply the result of certain events in our own adult lives.  Loyalty is another of my buzz words at the moment.  I have expected loyalty where I did not receive it and I know as I look back ashamedly at some of my relationships, I was not loyal when I should have been.  I have learnt that to say "I am a loyal friend" means a whole lot more than I once thought it did.  It means, I believe in you.  It means, I've got your back.  It means, I will support you now and ask questions later.  It means, I love you unconditionally.  Loyalty.  

I respect cultures who put a high value on loyalty.  Sadly, I believe our culture pays lip service to loyalty at best.  So perhaps we were heavy handed with our children last night, teaching them with such strong language that they must put their blood ties first and foremost before any other.  Perhaps it was a knee-jerk reaction.  Or perhaps realistically, we are teaching them that if they don't look out for each other, no one else will.  And perhaps the light in all this is that by teaching and modelling loyalty in our family, we will in fact be teaching our children how to be a good friend.

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