Loyalty. We live in a society that seems to have little regard for it. Old is replaced with new. Attractive is replaced with unattractive. This mindset holds neither history nor substance. We desire strong character and morals for our kids. When we instill the importance of loyalty and its relevance for a healthy life it can root deeply in their character and identity. How cool is that? It’s so important to get the message out in how loyalty is a powerful trait for our kids. It’s an uphill battle, but it’s one worth fighting with all your might.
How loyalty is a powerful trait for our kids…
It can be difficult to get in the mind of your pre-teen or teen. It can make your head spin. What we can often overlook is that they are inundated with change on a daily basis. New apps, popular songs, fashion trends and a million other what is and isn’t cool or relevant is their reality. There is little weight on substance. It’s just the way it is. They are almost trained to expect new, change and rotating of most aspects of their life. For someone twenty five and older that may make your head spin, but it’s the daily reality of this generation of teens.
How does this have any bearing on loyalty?
It has heaps of connections. When we are wired for change, holding onto anything long term can lack familiarity. There is a lack of knowing how to go beyond the now. We also face the challenge of the pressure to fit in, do what is cool and in the moment. This may mean foregoing someone due to looks, lack of being in the circle of ‘cool’ or some other reason. Either way, this is painful for those on the receiving end.
People are not the recyclable bin….
We place our empty water bottles, pasta jars and milk jugs on the street weekly to reduce, reuse and recycle. These are objects, not people. The message received from society is that you do what’s best for you and loyalty is exchanged for self preservation. The ‘you’ outweighs any ‘us.’ That’s kind of a bummer.
We cannot assume that our kids know how to maintain a friendship or relationship. Take the initiative to teach them. It sounds strange, but why should we assume they do know what it means to be loyal? Or how they should be treated or treat others? When we take the lead to provide this definition it paves the way for a better equipped young person.
Break it down….
some great questions to put their way whether at the dinner table, after watching a tv show or after they may have experienced the wrath of a crappy friend:
- Define loyalty?
- What does it mean to be a good friend?
- When is it ok to back away from someone?
- How do your friends treat you? And how do you treat them?
- How do you feel when your friend is sad? angry? quiet?
There are seasons in life. What we must convey that sometimes friendships and acquaintances drift apart. That’s ok. Our circle is not intended to be overflowing. That doesn’t work either.
An important key in life is to choose people we surround ourselves with carefully. Personally, professionally and socially the connections we have will hold great weight in our outlook, choices and the path we take. The choice in who kids hang with is so important it’s ridiculous.
Boundaries of loyalty…
- Surround yourself with people who treat you well, don’t talk about you or make you do things you aren’t good with
- Take a step back if you are in a toxic and one-way state
- You cannot invest in everyone. Choose wisely. Invest in people who don’t drain you.
There is power in being a loyal human being. The important thing is in that loyal state to maintain boundaries. This is to ensure your teen is being treated well and vice versa. It’s easy to be pulled in, taken for granted. Empower your young person in not only who they deserve to associate with, but how they are to treat others. It’s an amazing thing when the ‘click’ happens and the empowerment comes to play.
Assuming the role of loyalty takes time. Be patient. Continue to encourage and provide the personal example of what loyalty truly is as a parent, spouse, employee, etc. You can provide an impression that will have life long positives. Enjoy your weekend and keep pressing on for your kids. It’s SO worth it!