Self-Loyalty and Selflessness

the quality of being loyal to someone or something a strong feeling of support or allegiance

“This above all: to thine own self be true…thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

For the Parent::Battle Cry

In the past Focus Points we’ve posted, we have regularly and emphatically driven home the value of selflessness. If you recall, we even published a Loyalty post called “Focus Point: Putting Others First”. How then can I write a post encouraging self-loyalty?

First let’s talk about what self-loyalty isn’t. It’s not pure self-interest, it’s not selfishness and it’s not disregard for the welfare of others. Self-loyalty simply means that you refuse to compromise the core of who you are for the approval of others. It means that above all, you remember who you are and the principles that you hold dear. If you cannot even remain loyal to your own values, how can anyone else trust you to be loyal in other matters? The goal of this post is to show your Warrior Poets that it’s okay for them to remain loyal to themselves, and that such self-loyalty isn’t necessarily at odds with a life of self-sacrifice.

For your Son::Call to Arms

People are incredibly important. Your friends, your family, your teachers, your coaches, your classmates - all of these relationships are significant. The Warrior Poet takes every opportunity to show his loyalty and kindness to these people, often selflessly giving his time, money or strength to others and expecting nothing in return. This loyal selflessness is the mark of a true Warrior Poet.

However, loyalty to others must never come at the expense of loyalty to your own principles or values. This is what we call self-loyalty. When you are faced with a situation where you have to choose between supporting a friend or classmate, and doing what you know is right, you should go with your conscience. Because in the end, you will have to live with the decisions that you’ve made (and their consequences!). Don’t let the opinions of others sway you from what you know is right.

Weekend Activity

Don’t miss this opportunity to instill a healthy sense of right and wrong in your Warrior Poet. Come up with a few situations where your Warrior Poet must choose between loyalty to a friend and self-loyalty. Then quiz him on them. For instance, say that your son is playing basketball in the driveway after school and his friend next door asks him to come over and hang out. Now, your son knows that he’s not supposed to go to his friend’s house without running it by you first. This scenario forces him to choose between a seemingly innocent request from a friend and doing what he knows is right (obeying his parents).