Psychology teaches us that all human beings desire to be understood and to matter in this world. Although many of us do honorable work, whether it is out in the world or at home, most of us will not receive a trophy or certificate of appreciation. Many will never get paid for what they contribute to society, yet their contributions are the most meaningful and necessary for human dignity and the preservation of our civilization. Mothers, fathers, teachers and artists rarely reap the highest monetary rewards in our society, yet ironically, it is they who bear the burden of teaching us what is most meaningful.
The word “education” is from the Latin root, “educe.” To Educe is to draw out that which already exists. When at their best, our educators, whether they are our parents, mentors, teachers, artists or best friends, help us on our journey toward self-actualization. They function as a mirror which does not lie, in which to constantly observe our true selves, hopefully learn from what we see, and constantly strive to improve upon it, while helping others to do the same.
The quote attributed to Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” is still perhaps the best starting point for all of us. The most important “things” we will leave behind in this world when we are gone, is how we’ve influenced others. Material things and even awards, accolades and trophies may be left to others to sort through, but they will be nowhere near as important as the good deeds we have done, the lessons we have taught, the confidence we have inspired, the generosity we have shown, the gifts we have shared, the beauty we have recognized and the random acts of kindness we have performed.
These most valuable gifts usually cost little or nothing or simply involve our time, commitment and positive attitude. When you are moved, whether to action, to see the truth, to seek justice, or to love someone or something, it is priceless and lasts forever. These” gifts” we receive from others inspire us to do the same. To pass down what is best about humanity, to champion a cause, to nurture a child, to put others first and to do it humbly and with a smile on our face, are the gifts that matter most and the ones we know, deep down, must give in order to receive them ourselves. Gifts of Honor was created to facilitate this positive cycle of giving, receiving and giving back to each other and to society at large, and to honor those who have influenced us in this way in the process of doing so.