Thursday, July 10, 2014

What Code Do You Live By?

Almost from birth we're instilled with words of wisdom to live by, and eventually they become the foundation and building blocks for our lives.  Some children are raised with parents who teach them to be kind and respectful, as in "Be nice to others, be honest, tell the truth, work hard." To others that is less of a priority.  Some parents teach this with loving kindness, others teach it with brute force, as in "Do what I say!"  What ever the situation, our foundation of behavior, either learned by word or example by our caregivers is established in the early, formative years of our lives.

In elementary through high school we said the Unites States Pledge of Allegiance every day as part of our routine.  This became a code for me, and perhaps a lot of kids from my generation.  When I was a scout, about age 14, I had a respected youth leader once say, "Fake it til you make it." this stuck with me and I so I often put on an air of cheerfulness even when I am not feeling it.  When I was nearing the end of my Corrections Academy I held up my right hand, and pledged to uphold, support and protect my fellow citizens and do my duty as an officer.  These are some of my codes.

The code or codes that we live by establish the people we become and are the formative grounds for our overall character.  We either do our best or we don't.  We're honest, or we're not.  We follow the teachings and philosophies of some people or others. We're the only ones who truly know what our own codes of conduct are, and if they are in alignment with the betterment of society and our fellow man or not.

I say I follow Jesus.  But do I?  Martin Luther King, Jr. inspires me, but do I treat others, especially those of different races with the same respect Dr. King preached about?  This is an area of self examination and reflection for me on a regular basis, as it should be for all of us.  The code that I hold most dear and reflect upon often is from the New Testament, the words of Jesus, the foundation of my faith.  Let me include it here, from the book of Mark, Chapter 12: 28-34. (NRSV)

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘...you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Source: BibleGateway.com

I challenge all my readers, especially family members and my kids to look inward and think about the codes of life you were raised with, taught and adopted.  Are those codes in alignment with your core beliefs?  If not, make new choices to live a life that reflects your core beliefs and that uplifts others.

So what codes do you live by?

Coming next Thursday in a related story, I will write who I am, and will ask you the same question.  Please feel free to leave your comments, and share this with a friend. - Mr. Gus

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