I grew up in a family that taught a sense of 'honor'. That 'familial' education is the basis as to how I approach the world. While it is true that some could say, in recent times, that I acted with something less than honor; I would vehemently argue that is untrue.
What is 'HONOR'? I will skip over the meanings found in the disctionary and tell you what it means to me. To do this I will relate two stories, from my life, that I believe not only display a sense of honor but are acts that epitomize what 'living an honorabe life' really means.
Growing up I had a friend named GianPaolo(John Paul). That name will be readily recognizable for people who know the real me because it is part of my sons name.
One night, we were 18 yeas old, all my friends and their girfriends got together for a summer party. The party included drinking, some pot, a fire on the beach, dancing and all the things that New Jersey teens, in our area, did to entertain ourseles. Including ending the night parked along the 'Arthur Kill' and watching the 'submarine races'. Most of you, especially the Jersites will remember the 'submarine races' fondly I am sure.
We did every thing to excess that night as kids our age are prone to do. At some point we all headed toward home. GianPaolo and his girlfriend, Katie a beautiful girl, were in a horrific car accident on the way home. No deaths, thank God, but Katie had permenant scars on her face caused by her head hitting the windshield and an injured arm that never healed properly.
GianPaolo was raised in an Italian American family that taught, as mine did, the importance of being honorable. The importance for taking 'responsibility' for ones actions. That is exactly what he did!!
At 20 years old Katie and GianPaolo were married. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be 'best man'. On the morning of his wedding he told me that he did not really love Katie but he was going to spend the rest of his life taking care of her. I fully understood his feelings but truthfully; I am not sure I could have done what he was doing. In my mind the marriage was doomed to failure for lack of love.
Paul passed away at the age of 53 after 33 years of marriage to Katie and 5 wonderful children. Later in life he told me that he loved her more than he could even imagine loving anyone. That love had grown over time and that living without her was not a possibility.
I was best man at their wedding, godfather to two of their children and a pall bearer at his funeral. This 'Honerable Man' had based his life on what we were taught as children and forged a 'Love Story' worthy of a Hollywood movie.
I have told people that the GianPaola, in sons name, comes for the Pope. In truth it comes from my friend. I can see a sense of honor in my son and I am sure my friend guides him.
My grandfather was a small man in stature; standing 5'4". But he was a giant among men. He made his living as a simple 'tailor'. There was nothing simple about this man.
He, even in times that were tough for our family, would help anyone who asked. He cared little for their race, religion or nationality. To him they were people in need and his 'honor' dictated that he helped.
Around the corner from our house was an Italian American Club. Families would gather there, on Sundays after church, for food, music, game and to keep the 'Italian Natonal Pride' alive.
There was a table set up that was men only. Not just any men but those that the movies called 'men of respect'. I know y'all know what I am talking about. Families took pride from seeing one of their men asked to sit at that table.
My gradfather sat there every Sunday. My simple tailor grandfather. Every Sunday. Let that sink in kiddies. He was not in their 'business'. He was not wealthy. He did not wear an expensive suit. As a matter of fact my grandfather made his own suits.
As I got older I finally asked my father why grandfather was sitting there. He told me; "because he is a man of honor and is respected". My simple tailor grandfather.
The neighbor had detiorated over the years and we could never get my grandparents to move. But up until he passed, at age 70, he could walk his dog in the neighborhood after dark and never be bothered by anyone. He had gained the respect of that neighborhood because he was an 'honorable man'.
So what should you take from all this?
Being honorable means taking responsibility for you actions!
Being honorable means raeching out to others even when it is hard on you to do so.
Being honorable means keeping your commitments to your family, your home, your country and to people that come into your life.
Being honorable means meeting a woman, falling in love, committing to her and keeping that commitment no matter what. No matter what!!!
Honor is truly on 'life support' these days. Especially when it comes to marriage. It seems that committment to your 'mate' only as good as the 'next tight ass' that passes into your view.
Teaching HONOR to your childen, and doing so through example, will go a very long way to sending them out into the world with the potential to be successful.
I believe that God looks down on an honorable man and smiles. I can not imagine the facial expression he must display at times seeing what goes on here on Earth.
PS....If anyone cares to debate my honor; I welcome the opportunity to educate you.