Character Building - Loyalty
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
LOYALTY must be regarded as one of the most pleasing as well as most essential attributes of a fine character, and it is as endearing in the youth as in the person of maturer years and greater trusts. It means standing by what seems good, for sticking to a wrong position is mere obstinacy. It is well that this should be made clear to the child as soon as an occasion presents itself, for sometimes a boy will persist in defending a playmate who he knows is in the wrong, or in upholding a cause that he now knows is not as good as he once thought it. Loyalty, then, is the virtue of firmly standing by what one believes in, in the face of detraction or assault. It implies the very soul of honesty, and may cost self-sacrifice. It also implies endurance. A boy is loyal to his ball-team when he cheerfully takes the part his captain decides best fitted for him whether or not he likes it best, and then plays to win success for the team, not with an eye first on applause for himself. A girl is loyal to her home when she lets no one speak slightingly of it, and keeps silent regarding the little defects of education or management which she may observe, because she has had advantages superior to those her parents enjoyed. She is equally loyal when she quietly does all she can to remedy the defects, and improve matters for the benefit of the family. Loyalty to an employer is shown by working for him as faith-fully as you would for yourself, watchful of his interests, economical, secret as to his business, etc.; but if his service should lead to conniving at fraud, or other violation of good principles, then loyalty to yourself requires you to quit his service.
This term seems to many to refer altogether to standing by one's country, and this is truly a very important field for loyal ideas and acts; but those who in time of peace earnestly strive to improve the welfare of the people by criticising, or even opposing, measures of the government which they consider injurious, are acting as truly loyal a part as those who fight for the flag in war.
The teaching this virtue of loyalty to a child enforces the necessity in the parent to give him principles, and guide him into situations, which are worthy of support. Only thus can the sense of loyalty which is to be inspired have a firm basis.
Under "Courage" in this department the reader may find a number of references which bear upon the present quality. Additional to these we suggest the following: "The White Stone Canoe," "Llewellyn and His Dog," and "Beauty and the Beast, " in Volume I; " Pyramus and Thisbe, " " Orpheus," and "The Star Lovers" in Volume II; "Dorigen" and parts of the "Iliad" in Volume III; and "The Judgment of Tamenund" in Volume IV. Many biographies of the "Soldiers and Statesmen" section in Volume IX will prove of great value.