Recently, Carissa and I had a proud parenting moment. We attended the induction ceremony for the local chapter of the National Honor Society to watch our oldest daughter, Julie, be inducted. It was both an exciting and proud moment for us as parents.
Julie had been downplaying the event and was even surprised that all her siblings and grandparents were going to be attending. I appreciate that for her the hard work that she was accustomed to was not something out of the ordinary. It was just something she did. For her, she didn’t believe it to be anything big to be celebrated. We tried to encourage her with the idea that it was unique and a big accomplishment. If it wasn’t, there would be a lot more people with the opportunity to be inducted.
On the night of the ceremony, obviously, the highlight was seeing Julie walk across the stage. There were also a lot of boring parts to the ceremony as well when people read what they were required to read and gave their required speeches. I did however find myself enjoying the lighting of the candles. There were four candles in particular that were lit, and each represented a pillar of the National Honor Society: Scholarship, Character, Leadership, and Service.
Each of these qualities are the things that make up the National Honor Society and its members. These are the things that they look for when considering who’s in and who’s not each year. And as I thought about these, it got me thinking that these are qualities we should all be seeking after.
Academics. Learning. Knowledge. We should all be curious and wanting to learn more. Never get to a point where your mind stops growing. When I was coaching, we used to say we wanted players who were coachable. I believe that applies here. We as people need to be willing to accept teaching when it comes our way and have a desire to seek it out. We are always on a journey and will never completely “arrive.”
The great coach John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” Our character is the real us. It’s living with integrity and standing for what’s right. This is done whether people see it or not. I believe there is a greater calling to this from our Creator, but at the very least this is being a decent human-being.
Leadership expert John C. Maxwell has told us that leadership is influence. With that, we can see that leadership could go in a lot of directions. We can influence people for the positive or the negative. Sometimes we downplay leadership and may make comments that we are not leaders, but the truth is, we are all leaders in one way or another. The reason is that we all have influence of some form. Since we are all leaders, we should strive to be the best leaders possible. We should seek to have positive influence on those around us.
Service is about lending a hand. It’s about reaching out to others to offer yourself in one way or another. No matter who we are or where we find ourselves in life, we can all use a hand from time to time. As people, we were designed for relationships; we were designed for community. When we are in community, if we keep our eyes open, it doesn’t take long before we see opportunities to serve.
Maybe Julie was onto something by downplaying this. These are qualities that anyone can possess, and really all of us should possess. I still believe this to be something worth celebrating since this was a big accomplishment. For the rest of us though, if we are to make these qualities a part of who we are, it will take some intentionality.
What steps are you currently taking to grow in these areas? What steps could you take to start growing in these areas?