The crisis in Japan is bringing back our focus on Honour. I heard it said last night that it is not just compassion that the people of Japan are demonstrating but honour, something here in the West we have lost sight of a generation ago. Some of the words that are associated with the definition of the word honour. “Personal integrity, respect, dignity, source of pride, moral character or strength, or adherence to ethical principle”.
This topic has left me pondering this word. The fact is that this horrific crisis is reminding the world what honour looks like, people are not only helping each other but they are honouring and respecting each others property. They are not taking ownership of anything but sharing the resources without any personal agenda attached. People’s homes are left unlocked with signs outside inviting strangers in to fill their water jugs. Others are coming home to find food and water left on their door steps anonymously.
This is something that this generation of Westerners are losing. We all get angry because we say that the young people here are spoiled and feel entitled. Who created this?
I have a 95-year-old neighbour who speaks of a time in his youth when everyone in the neighbourhood left their doors unlocked and the porch light on for anyone who needed a place of shelter and a bite to eat. He would think nothing of waking up to find a person on the couch needing rest. Everyone in the neighbourhood took care of each other. This was a time when a handshake was the contract and your word was binding. The majority of his generation could not even think of stealing. Objects were not your wealth but family values and service was what made you rich.
In our over zealous to keep our children from suffering too much hardship we forgot that those hardships taught us to need and respect each other. We have deeply failed our youth, and as our generation gets older we have become cynicical and angry because of what our world has become. Everywhere I turn these days whether it is in business or social gatherings all you hear is gossip, anger and frustration about this generation that has turned us against each other and into a cynicism for humanity. Honour can only be taught through example, and this can only be done if we first honour our own lives. We first must be willing to own and heal our own wounds and then we can become that beckon of honour and show them through our actions the power of such a society.
We forget that what we are putting out into the world grows. Most people are like a fertile field, and what we plant will grow. If we plant poisonous plants, anger, judgement, entitlement that is what will grow. If you want nourishing plants then plant seeds of love, service, non-judgment and compassion. Plant an honour system that not only values others but mirrors what is possible for our youth. Be a reflection that takes the light off of things and put it back on people and community. I invite each and every one of us to let go of this disease of cynicism, and over consumption and step into the honour society once again. If we want to teach this generation honour then become honourable. Let your words and actions be a becaon of light that shines on the concept of honour that was our grandparent’s legacy that allot of us failed to pass on.
Let Japan’s beautful example be our wake up call!