Life Lessons: How To Honor and Give Back to Others

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Life Lessons—What is honor? Honor, by definition, is derived from the concept of weights and balances. Imagine an old time metal or aluminum scale, with identical small trays on each side to weigh coffee beans or spices. These scales are common in outdoor markets in foreign lands. When one thing is placed on one side of the scale, the weight of it lifts the other side of the scale. To honor is to lift others. To help them rise.

I was in the bathroom stall during my son's basketball game when I heard a mother growl angrily, "Wash...your...hands! Just do it!" I opened the door to see her thrust her daughters hands under the water by force. She then yanked the three-year-old away and berated her as they walked down the long hallway to the gym. Eventually, the child was in tears.

Now that's an uncomfortable story to tell, but how many times have we seen another human react in ways we felt were not in line with the situation? My guess is that the undercurrent of anger from that mother was about something entirely different. When her child resisted washing her hands, the mother did not "filter" the experience though the lens of honor, but control. In her mind, control and obedience was more important.

One of the best ways to create a legacy of giving back in your family and community is to sow a seed of honor into their lives. The honor principle is a completely new way of looking at things, and it takes the focus off of ourselves onto others. It's about seeing a deficiency, and filling the gap. We can teach our kids to be challenged to seek out ways to help others, by honoring them.

To honor means to illuminate the good things about a person and remain unmoved when you see something you don't like about them. Honor is a strong character trait. The following are simple ways to honor others:

  • Define honor for your kids and challenge them to find ways to honor each other, or the kids at school, during the week. Celebrate and praise their results.
  • Vow to ignore it when your kids spill, mess, or make a mistake. Do this for one week, and see how much your perspective on life is reoriented. Chill!
  • Look at a persons "lack" or flaw, (your husband's disorganization, a neighbor's overgrown yard, a Childs tardiness) as an opportunity to "fill the gap" and honor them. Buy an organizational tool for your husbands car or office, weed the neighbors yard, etc

One family, Kevin and Michelle Weaver, teach the radical Honor principle in their own family and also to thousands of other families through their seminars across the world, called: The Supernatural Power of a Family. Weaver uses the example in his own family of how he and his wife Honor each other. "When one of us sees something the other person is lacking, we don't point it out," Weaver says. "Instead, we write it down, keep it silent, and address it individually. My wife prayed for weeks that I'd stop calling her a nickname, but never told me she hated it. One day I felt a strong urge in my heart to just stop. That's when she pulled out a tiny sheet of paper and showed me what she had written down."

Now holding our tongues might be hard to do when you're really irked, but the strategy of honoring another by setting their faults aside, is one we can incorporate into our own lives. What if we looked through the lens of honor with every interaction? An encounter with a cranky, selfish neighbor or friend would take on new meaning.

To honor means to "even out" the negative. To be the one who fills in what's missing. It's the opposite of judgement and criticism. It's a deep breath, in a harsh world.

What are simple ways to honor people and give back to others? How do you plan to honor others this week and give back?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Tammy Kling is a life coach, advocate for the homeless, and international author of 29 books including The Compass. Tammy is also the founderr of Write it Out, an organization that helps gang members, the homeless, and those living on the street write out their hopes & dreams via writers workshops, free journals and various other resources.

In addition to writing and coaching, Tammy is a mom of two boys, an avid trail and mountain runner, blogger, and adventure travel writer.

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I'm a book author, homeschool mom of boys, mountain runner and advocate for the homeless. Founder of Write it Out, a homeless recovery program that teaches writers workshops to the homeless and gang members, in order to focus on using the power of words to restore, recover, and rehabilitate.


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