When I read James Harmon’s book, Take My Advice, Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s letter spoke to me on many levels as it addressed many of the thoughts, questions, and ideas that I have been churning over for a long time. One section that I highlighted reads, “The meaning of life is inherent in the connections we make to others through honor and obligation.” I love this quote and Schlessinger’s idea because it puts other people, not ourselves or money, at the center of our universe. When we live for our connections with others then we go out of our way to develop meaningful relationships with other people.
Dr. Schlessinger’s quote reminds me of an old track coach who was always focused on relationships. He spoke about them in the same way as Dr. Schlessinger with a message that in the end, all we have are the relationships and the impacts we have made on other people’s lives. For me the idea “through honor and obligation” means personal sacrifices for others, and performing acts that will not just benefit you, but those around you as well. I think that this mindset can help build a sense of community and provide something that many are missing in this day. Our culture is very individualistic, and what has happened is that our sense of others and connection to others has become more instant with technology, yet more fractured and distant. If we were to adopt the ideas of Schlessinger, and put others at the center of our world, we would adopt a new identity that would shape us in a way where we are confident in ourselves, and understand that we depend our community for real support. This idea could override the individualistic attitude of our culture, and help repair our fractured view of community.