Loyalty is a word with many different dimensions. On Capitol Hill, a former supervisor gave our staff the following poem during an uncertain period.
Pledge of Loyalty
By: Sir Elbert Kim Hubbard
If you work for a man,
in heaven’s name,
work for him,
speak well of him,
and stand by the institution
that he represents.
an ounce of loyalty
is worth a pound of cleverness.
If you must grawl,
condemn and eternally find fault,
resign your position!
And when you are in the outside,
damn to your heart’s contents!
But as long as you are a part of the institution,
do not condemn it.
For if you do,
the first high wind that comes along
will blow you away.
you’ll never know why.
The essence of the poem hit home with me because I have always believed in being loyal to those who were beneficial to me—that includes staying basically “down with the team” long after working somewhere. But, loyalty is a two-way street that requires commitment from bottom to top and top to bottom. For example, Sarah Palin should remember that Senator John McCain “put her on” and Joe Lieberman should do the way with Al Gore.
From the following list, how would you prioritize your loyalty?
College Football Team
While the last one might seem humorous, some folks would have it very high up on their list. I saw Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rev. Al Sharpton and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the Meet the Press discussing their efforts to reform education in America. While I wasn’t invited, my comments would have centered on loyalty in education. It’s no secret that I feel Black students owe a debt of gratuity to those who broke down barriers and that they debt is paid by working hard, being focus, and capitalizing on educational opportunities.
At the same time, teachers who are loyal to the field should remove themselves if they realize they aren’t reaching the students; getting money for not doing the job could be considered stealing on some level. Of course, weak teachers have bills and other financial obligations that sometimes keep them in the classroom—skating by.
Some teachers will tell you that half-raised kids with poor attention spans burnt them out with a quickness and that parents aren’t doing their parts. The finger of blame can point some of everywhere but we must fix this broken system before we have a generation of Americans ill-prepared to function in the global economy.
If you let me tell it, I think the bells and whistles of video games, computers, and T.V. creates kids who only want to focus when things are flashy and visually stimulating. Loyalty to local school system makes citizens reluctant to admit that “needs improvement” is an understatement. If Secretary Duncan asked me to create a charter school as a model, you can best believe it would be the old school three Rs with a high-tech twist and little Johnny would understand that his loyalties must compelled performance and achievement. Who am I fooling; the young cats in my community are unbelievably selfish. If you asked them what they believe, they would likely say, “I believe you better get out of my face.”
Meet The Press