An ancient Thai tradition illustrates how the Honor Cycle works. In the ceremony of Wai Khru, students pay homage to their teachers to express their gratitude and to formalize the student-teacher relationship. The student honors the teacher, recognizing the role of the teacher and submitting to his instruction. The wai khru chant, which expresses respect for the teachers, ends by asking that the teachers bless their studies.
This tradition demonstrates that the posture of the student is supremely important to facilitate the learning process. The student places value on the teacher and positions himself to receive what the teacher has to offer. But notice that the teacher understands that he must release blessing. Instruction and guidance is only part of the assignment. The real power of the older generation is to bless future generations! (tweet this)
A posture of honor positions us to receive blessing from our parents, teachers and mentors. Giving our blessing to our children, students and mentees empowers them to honor. This is the power of the Honor Cycle. Adhering to these simple principles can restore broken families and societies, setting them up to flourish for many generations.
How have you seen the Honor Cycle working in your relationships?
Our society has lost touch with the fundamental practices that allow one generation to build on another. Our celebration of independence and individuality has inadvertently disrupted the cycle that allows us to build a legacy across multiple generations. As children, we feel responsible to achieve success on our own. As parents, we’re so caught up pursuing our own dreams; we don’t know how to invest in the next generation. As a result, family relationships are broken and generations are not positioned to work together.
There is a natural cycle, however, that will create a thriving future from generation to generation (tweet this). I call it the Honor Cycle. When properly cultivated, the Honor Cycle empowers families and societies to learn from their successes and failures, solve problems together and build a better future for generations to come.
The Honor Cycle is initiated by two actions:
1) Practicing Honor
2) Releasing Blessing
Do you believe that generations were meant to build one on the other? What do you think about this idea of an Honor Cycle? Is there hope for our future?
Our generation faces a significant dilemma. It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the enormity of the global challenges we face—trillions in national debt, food and healthcare for billions of people, global warming, and nuclear dissemination, just to name a few. When faced with grave issues such as these, great generations throughout history arose courageously, tackling catastrophic challenges and building a better future for their children. We should do the same. Yet, our challenges are too big for one generation (tweet this).
Take our national debt. Even if we were to allocate ten percent of current federal revenue each year toward paying the debt down, it would take almost 70 years to pay it off. Without the commitment of our children toward a long-term solution, this problem will never be fixed. The same can be said for problems involving poverty and the environment.
We may set in motion great solutions for the future, but future generations must finish the work. Meanwhile, we need the experience of previous generations to help us develop solutions. A prosperous future does not hinge just on our generation finding the courage to arise, but rather on many generations coming together, building one on the other.
Is our society set-up to do this? What needs to change to enable this to happen?
Does honor require us to stuff our feelings down and never communicate how we really feel? Or is it possible to have healthy communication that allows us to express feelings and keep an honoring posture?
Not long ago I met with a young adult at our church to discuss an email he had sent to our Lead Pastor. I wanted to help him see how the tone of his email was hurtful and dishonoring. He explained to me that he believed the most honoring thing he could do was to share his feelings in a straightforward manner, in the same way he would to a peer or friend. In his mind, he would do a disservice to the Pastor by toning down his harsh rhetoric.
This young man was missing the point. By sharing his feelings in “the same way he would to a peer or friend,” he demonstrated that he placed no special value on the relationship with his pastor. Honor is not about catering to the emotional needs of others, but rather making an effort in every communication to value, respect and give weight to their position. When you value someone, you communicate with them as if they are special. It’s okay to give them the special treatment. Actually, that’s the point!
I believe you can be honest and forthright about your feelings and emotions and still keep a posture that honors. It will take special care, thought, and a greater time commitment, but your willingness to do that will go a long way in communicating honor to your parents, bosses, and spiritual leaders.
Tips for Being Honest AND Honoring: (Click to Tweet)
- Set aside adequate time for communication.
- Be willing to invest emotional energy.
- Calm down. Deal with your anger and offense first.
- Don’t make negative assumptions about motives.
- Communicate respectfully.
- Ask Questions. Seek to Understand before being Understood.
- Communicate how their actions make you feel, not how they need to change.
- Consider that it may not be your place/role to give critical feedback.
- Make it clear how much you value them.
How about you? What tips can you share for communicating honestly with honor?