Standing Up

Samuel - West Hartford, Connecticut
Entered on February 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

When people think about their beliefs, they rarely think about loyalty; yet loyalty is an extremely important code by which we live. Whether it’s loyalty to our friends, loyalty to our families, or even loyalty to our other beliefs, these are things that we, even if we don’t know it, get us through our days.

Friendship is not a contract. It isn’t even an agreement. Instead, friendship is simply a positive connection between two people. Whether it’s because they make each other laugh, they listen to each other, or they’re just fun to be around, when you’re friends with someone, you want to help that person out. Even if you don’t want to define that as loyalty, it still is. For example, my best friend’s name is Jeramys. I’m not quite sure why we’re best friends, but we are. We stick up for each other when one of us is in trouble, and we help each other out if one of us needs help. That’s what loyalty to a friend means.

From an early age, my mother has always tried to ingrain morals in me, such as manners, and the value of family. Because of her, family is now an important part of my life. While you express loyalty differently towards family than friends, the idea is still the same. The reason that families stick together is the same reason that families forgive each other’s faults: Because families are loyal to each other. For example, hundreds of years ago, families waged war against each other. But why did they stay in families (or “clans,” whichever you prefer): Because they all felt loyal to each other.

Perhaps the most important part of loyalty is in one’s beliefs. Oftentimes, whether you know the person or you just see them on the television, you see people give up on their beliefs. Not giving up on your beliefs isn’t just a part of loyalty, but it’s a bigger thing, something that is an important part of life. It’s a skill, to be able to continue what you are doing in the face of ridicule. When Dr. King worked for equality, he was mocked by many people, but the idea that all men were created equal was something he believed in very strongly. His work gave millions of people new lives, all because he was loyal to that belief.

Even though I wrote this essay, typed it up, and revised it, loyalty isn’t really something that can be explained. The ability to stand up for your friends, to stand up for your family, and to stand up for your beliefs isn’t something that can be taught. It’s a quality, something that you already have before you even learn what it is. And it’s something that we all believe in, no matter what.