The World Is Never More Hopeful As When The Old Honor The Young

This saying about honoring the young hangs in my workshop. I think my wife found it, I’m not sure where. I liked it and she gave it to me.

The concept of honor carries many meanings in our culture. I think most often it’s a way to show respect and deference. Mostly it seems to be applied to people of great contributions, sacrifice and/or status. We honor our veterans. Society honors judges and senators. As young people we’re encouraged to honor our parents and our elders in general.

However, the idea of honor deserves a second look. I believe every human being deserves honor, including the young but most importantly, we must honor ourselves.

Honor is closely related in meaning to respect. How do we honor and respect another person? Here are some ways:

  • By virtue of being human, each person is as legitimate and worthy as every other person. Each person is unique and warrants dignity. Society may elevate some people’s contributions, personalities or skill sets above others as if to say those without those positions or sacrifices in war or great musical talents, for example, don’t deserve respect. I disagree.
  • The respectful thing to do is to not speak for another person but let others voice their experience as a human being for themselves.
  • Honoring another person means I do not try to control them, use them, manipulate them, bully them or mistreat them in any way or fashion.
  • It’s easy to go from honoring to the golden rule, that is treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves. I wish I could say that the guideline to treat others as we treat ourselves has honorific outcomes. In many instances, I wouldn’t want to be treated the way some people neglect, abuse and dishonor themselves.
  • In age-appropriate ways, parents can honor children by asking the child to speak their evaluation of what’s going on with them instead of encouraging children to defer to the parental evaluation or pleasure.
    For example, when daughter brings home grades and shows them to mom and dad, the first honoring thing for the parents to do is to withhold their reaction and ask the young person how they feel, what they think about the grades they just got. After that has been voiced by the child, yes, it’s good to let the child know what the parents think but only with the understanding that the major concern of the parent for the child is that the child learns to focus on their evaluation of their behavior not parental reaction to their behavior.
  • Honoring another person is a form of detachment. Detachment is being in the presence of but not influenced by who the other person is, or what they’re doing. To honor another person, I let them know I’m observing them and aware of what they’re doing. At the same time, I show them that my behavior in response to theirs is proactive not reactive. I decide how to feel and act in response to other people.
  • Honor knows when to celebrate the person being honored. Honor is not worship. Honor is not deferring to others in submissive ways. Honor stands face to face with reality and lets it be.

Here’s a rephrase of the statement we started with:

The world is never more hopeful as when each person honors
themselves first and then others.

With that in mind:

I am as worthy and legitimate as anybody else. I have the right to voice and speak for myself. I do not try to control others or let them control me. I follow the Golden Rule and treat myself with honor. I respect my children and apply the rules of honor to them. I attempt to watch myself with detachment, like a scientist would. I celebrate who I am and my accomplishments in meaningful ways.

Sometimes this is not easy to start thinking and acting with honor to self. Need some help, give me a call: 913-991-2302