Character Building - Honor
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THIS is a large and important subject. It cannot be adequately discussed in a brief article. We shall give only a few suggestions and then attempt to blaze the way for your fuller consideration and investigation.
First think of the word HONOR. Have you a clear idea of the meaning of the word? Enlarge that idea by reading and re-reading the definition in a good dictionary. You will find that "honor" is related to a large family of great and good words, among which are honesty, character, love, respect, and courtesy.
Now read the following questions and hints, but take them up for greater thought and consideration day by day, as you are pondering over this subject:
What is honor? Should honor be cultivated? Does it help to make a strong character or a weak one? What is character? What is reputation? Which would you rather have, a fine reputation or a fine character? How can you build character? How can you develop honor in your home relations? How in school? Do you think you must work for honor, or will it develop easily and without effort on your part? Do you think the things in life really worth having are gained with or without striving? Do you think the attainment of honor is desirable? Does it pay in business relations? How hard are you willing to work that you may possess it?
If you are "honor boys and girls" will you study when your teacher is absent from the school-room just as vigorously as when she is present? Will you carefully do work as requested by your mother when she is absent, the same as if she were present ? Will you faithfully study during the allotted time for preparation of a certain lesson, or will you "dawdle" the time away?
Let us look at this subject from another standpoint. Parents should remember, and children should be taught, that every manufactured article is produced at a cost of labor, time, and money, and should be used with care whether the article belongs to them or to another. If text books are furnished free of cost, pupils must understand that while free of cost to them, they are not so to the tax-payers, and they must show appreciation by a desire to pass them on to their successors in good condition. Destructiveness in childhood is chiefly due to thoughtlessness, and unless corrected will lead to shiftlessness. Landlords might cease to be victims to a class of tenants who say: "We don't care anything about this house, you know; it is only rented," if children were given such teaching in school.
Boys and girls, a true sense of honor will lead you to consider the rights of others, the proper conduct toward them. By "others" we mean parents, teachers, companions, servants, strangers, janitors, and everybody with whom you come in contact. But the space given to us for this article will permit us only to help you in considering how "honor boys and girls" will regard the rights of parents and teachers.
What are the rights of parents? To your love, courtesy and respect; to your ready and cheerful obedience; to your help-fulness, because every child should have some work to do in the home that would add to the comfort of all; to the care of your clothing that additional burdens may not be laid upon your parents.
What are the rights of teachers? To your courtesy and respect; to your cheerful and ready obedience; to your co-operation to make the school the best possible; to expect honor and honesty in the preparation of daily work; to expect that you be punctual and regular in attendance; to pleasant, kind, obliging, helpful ways on your part.
By such an attitude toward parents and teacher, the children are building character of the right sort and in the end will receive more than they give.
"Honor" contains only five letters, but it is a great big word. Will you not think of it every day?
Almost any of the stories of famous men and women in the Library demonstrate this principle. But we recommend to youthful readers the following: "Dorigen" in Volume III, and "The Judgment of Tamenund" in Volume IV, both excellent tales; also "Tom's First Half-Year at Rugby" in the latter volume. For a supreme example of personal honor read "Scott in Adversity," in Volume VII. Memorize the words of "Polonius to Laertes," in Volume XI, and keep them ever in mind. One should be able to repeat "To Lucasta on Going to the Wars" in the same volume.