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But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.

-Matthew 5:44-45

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Definition: the state or quality of being faithful to a person, group, ideal, or tradition
Synonyms: fidelity, allegiance, duty, commitment, community, steadfastness

Discussion: The respected Rabbi Hillel questioned, “If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?” (Mishveh: Ethics for the Fathers, 1:14). Loyalty, at the center of human values, cements social bonds between people, families, communities, and nations. It requires that we recognize a relationship to our fellow human beings: it must be cultivated and taught, because it is rarely instinctive. Loyalty involves duty, a sense of commitment and community, knowledge that each of us is a part of something greater than ourselves. It makes us aware of the duties and obligations we therefore have toward each other.

Heartwood Story Quote:
Outlined on a sea of green grass stood these two great athletes, one black, one white, both wearing the same team uniform. “I am standing by him,” Pee Wee Reese said to the world. “This man is my teammate.”
—Peter Golenbock, Teammates

Loyalty Quotations:
“Go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.”
—Henry David Thoreau

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
—William Shakespeare*, Hamlet

“‘Remember only this one thing,’ said Badger, ‘The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memory. This is how people care for themselves.’”
—Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel

“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson*

* Note: If Shakespeare and Emerson were alive today, they would doubtless use the word “person” rather than “man.” In our time, we explicitly recognize that courage, spirit, honor, integrity, and other personal attributes are not gender-, culture-, or ethnicity-related, but are defining characteristics of the best of all humans.

Facets of Loyalty in Heartwood Stories (K - 6):
Family loyalty provides a supportive atmosphere for telling the truth (Too Many Tamales)
Recognizing and observing loyalty in self and others; understanding another’s problem (Dogger)
Preservation of traditions calls out a loyalty to the past, present, and future (Cornrows)
Faithfulness; giving of self; national loyalty (The Nightingale)
Individual strengths contribute to group purpose and accomplishment of goals (Seven Chinese Brothers)
Self-sacrifice for the well-being of others; community loyalty (Legend of Bluebonnet)
Community grows from loyal relationships (The Two Brothers)
Standing up for a friend, a belief, a group in the face of criticism (Teammates)

Information from http://www.heartwoodethics.org