Every so often something happens causing me to reflect on “loyalty.” What is it? Where do my own loyalties lie? What principles define my loyalties? How strong and deep do these loyalties go? If having to choose among conflicting loyalties, how should I decide — how would I decide? Are my loyalties more toward others than loyalty toward myself? Each one of these is a loaded question.
Personal reflection recently led me to a few conclusions and more questions. Here’s what I’ve decided so far:
- Everyone has multiple loyalties. Examples include loyalty to: an idea, a principle, a friend, a hero, a teacher or student, a cause, an organization, a team, an object, a pet, spouse, family, self, and God. Hopefully God is not last.)
- Our loyalties reflect our character.
- As we change, some loyalties change.
- Some loyalties are stronger than others.
- Emotional loyalties are much stronger than loyalties based on logic.
- People betray their own loyalties.
Here’s what others have decided:
“When you’re part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they’d do the same for you.” — Yogi Berra
“A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” — Robert Benchley
“Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money.” — Robert Jackson
“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” — Mark Twain, inscription beneath his bust in the Hall of Fame
“So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family, that it remains the measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty. All other pacts of love or fear derive from it and are modeled upon it.” — Haniel Long
“UD, we hear you calling,
Fidelity’s the test,
Your sons and daughters answer from
North, South, East and West,
With measured tread advancing,
Our emblem full in view,
We sound your praise and pledge
Our loyalty to the Red and Blue.”
— Excerpt from “The University of Dayton Anthem”
“No more important duty can be urged upon those who are entering the great theater of life than simple loyalty to their best convictions.” — Edwin Hubbel Chapin
“The secret of a good life is to have the right loyalties and hold them in the right scale of values.” — Norman Thomas
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