I was honored to be asked to give a speech at a National Junior Honor Society awards ceremony for fourth through eighth graders, along with their parents and teachers. My granddaughter, the president, gave me the invite. Ok…touch my heart, right? This experience caused me to study the five qualities of membership these young people had to meet to become inducted into the society. I found them pretty cool and worth sharing in a post with you. They represent worthwhile goals for parents to encourage in all kids. While I am going to shorten and paraphrase, I give full credit to the national honor society web page and will link it for you to read the details.
The five traits are listed as scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship and character. Let’s take a look at what they say.
Scholarship: Scholarship is defined by a commitment to learning. They charge the student to continue learning throughout their life even when formal education is ended. “Learning furnishes the lamp by which we read the past, and the light which illuminates the future.” Rather than grades, the focus is on diligence and effort to keep up the learning activity.
Service: Service is defined by everyday willingness to work for the benefit of those in need without reward or recognition. The organization encourages young people to volunteer their time and abilities to help others.
Leadership: Leadership for a positive outcome is encouraged in the members. “The price of leadership is sacrifice-the willingness to yield one’s personal interests for the interest of others.” Leaders go forward with confidence when others hesitate or are afraid. They use their initiative to train and aid others to move onward in action.
Citizenship: The members are called to be good citizens of our society and country. They are encouraged to follow the laws and democratic ideals given to us by our founders. Protecting freedom and rights and preventing injustice are high standards that this society of children are called to honor.
Character: This is my favorite because it encourages individuality and self-respect. “Character is achieved and not received.” The children are called to be in constant action to make good choices and maintain self-control, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Here is the link to the National Junior Honor Society/Qualities of membership:
NJHS - 5 QUALITIES OF MEMBERSHIP
I must say that choosing a topic for this speech was difficult because of our obvious age and generational differences. I began asking myself what does someone my age have to share with this talented group of young kids? I came to my decision by asking the question: “what is the most important thing I have learned in my extended years of living?” My answer to that was simply Believe in Yourself! We talked about “naysayers” in life, leadership, creativity, and individuality. What fun to speak to these spirited young people and they gave me much hope for their bright futures. I shared one of my favorite sayings, “When you do hard things, they’re hard!” because as we all note life can have its adversity and accepting that sometimes things are hard is important. I actually have this on a post-it note on my computer because well, life is hard. Eh? But I also shared one of my favorite quotes from Wayne Dyer to foster encouragement of the incredible talent I was standing before. Dyer simply and profoundly said these words. “Don’t die with your song still in you.” It’s a lesson for all. We can light up the world if we believe in ourselves!
So I end with The National Junior Honor Society creed as a reminder of the five traits mentioned above to encourage in all children.
“I promise to uphold the high purpose of the National Junior Honor society to which I have been selected. Striving in every way by word and deed to make its ideals the ideals of my school and of my life.”