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How to choose safe, healthy relationships: the role of loyalty

Loyalty to your family Today is anWhy is understanding loyalty important for our young people and their relationships?  Loyalty is one of those qualities that we want from others, but many times are willing to overlook and make excuses for not getting.  In the end though, if we are in a relationship where the other person does not stand up for us, is not honest with us, puts us down or talks about us in a derogatory way behind our backs – we cannot be complete or fulfilled in that relationship.  It simply is not healthy.

As I thought about loyalty in the family, it has become clear that when we meet someone who is willing to do any of those things just mentioned to family members, eventually when they are comfortable with us, they will most likely treat and talk to us the same way.  Do we really want to be in that kind of relationship?

I asked each of our teen students to look and listen to the way their friends – especially girl & boy friends – talk about their siblings, parents and others close to them.  If they are disrespectful of them, not loyal to them – you can expect the same treatment later in your relationship.  You need to choose if this is the kind of person you want to spend time with.  We need to even ask – Is this a safe and healthy relationship?

Balanced Life Skills is helping our students understand loyalty and opening the conversation for parents to have with their children on this key life skill.


What if you are loyal – but your friend is not loyal?

Never push a loyal person to a pointChildren can learn loyalty by practicing it first with family members, then with friends, teams and classmates.  The practice of loyalty may begin with being trustworthy and helping the family by doing chores – both your own and maybe even helping others with theirs if they are not able to complete them due to sickness.

Sticking up for our family members, speaking up and supporting a younger sibling who may be having difficulty with a friend is a way of showing loyalty.  Keeping our word to a younger brother or sister will help them to see loyalty in action and to feel the assurance that you will have their back in times of trouble.

What if you are a loyal friend though and your friend does not keep their word?  They tell you they are going to come over to your house and then cancel – over and over again.  Or they promise to keep your secrets and not tell anyone – yet you find out that they did tell others.   What would you do?

We posed that question to our students this week.  The answer that was agreed on by most was that your friendship would most likely have to be examined.  While you may not dismiss them completely, if you are not able to trust them, you may need to decide if this is healthy for you or not.  One student said your relationship is going to change and you would not want to confide in them, in fact you may decide that they should be more of an acquaintance rather than a best friend.

Some students suggested that they would tell the person it was hard to be ‘best friends’ when you did not feel they were being loyal to them.  Others suggested that could be done without hurting the feelings of another person, simply by not sharing private thoughts etc. and gradually changing the relationship.

Presenting these kind of scenarios to our children will help them to think these situations out before they actually happen.  Allow them to come up with answers and ways of handling the problem.  This will prepare them for real world problems,  and not surprise  them, which might result in a bigger battle.  Balanced Life Skills is helping our students understand loyalty and opening the conversation for parents to have with their children on this key life skill.


Practice loyalty with family members first

Our theme this week in talking to our students was practicing loyalty at home was good for learning how to be loyal outside the home, with your friends, school, band, sports team.  When we are loyal to our family we are in effect saying to the family I will support you, contribute to the well being of the group and do whatever I am able to help our family out.

piano-lessons2For our children to learn about loyalty we as parents will demonstrate what that looks like, not just by setting the example – but also by being sure that our children know that our action is a way of showing loyalty to others in the family, saying it out loud.  All parents have given up something we would like to do or need to do to be there for our child’s swim meet, baseball game or other event.  When we do an act of loyalty, for our children to learn the lesson we can tell them,

“I want to be there for you.”
“You can depend on me being there.”
“I will always be there for you.”
“I am supporting you in all that you do.”

Making sure they hear these words, connected to the action will begin to let them know that loyalty to family members does not just happen in difficult times or when there is a crisis.  We are loyal all of the time.

Balanced Life Skills is helping our students understand loyalty and opening the conversation for parents to have with their children on this key life skill.


Life Skills: Loyalty – The Definition

Word of monthEach month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Loyalty.  This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Loyalty means: I’ll stand by you!

Older students: Loyalty means:  Faithful and committed to a person, place, group or cause.

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class.  You can also follow our discussions here on this website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE.   We are not your typical after school activity, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect – creating a culture of peace – through the arts.  We believe in every child and build their self – confidence.  Balanced Life Skills takes part in community service and encourages each student to do the same.


Action with Vision is what achieves goals

VisionThree quotes from leaders in success or successful leaders:

“Do it and then you will feel motivated to do it.” Zig Ziglar
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain
“I never worry about action, but only about inaction.”  Winston Churchill

The question comes to mind, If you had 10 individuals in a competition, lets say a 5K, and all of them spent time visualizing winning the race, what would be the results?  They all had a vision of winning, they could SEE it – crossing the finish line, others close behind.  They could SENSE it – they feel the muscles, sweat and joy of crossing the line first.  They could hear the crowd cheering for them.  They repeatedly SAY to themselves – I am a winner!, I am fast!, I am ready.  They BELIEVE they will will the race.  The question is if all 10 of them did this visioning – which one will ACHIEVE there goal?

The answer is not just about visualizing – the answer is ACTION.  The one who will win the race is the one who prepared with ACTION the best – they will be the winner.  While the positive mental attitude was important, in the words of Joel Barker:

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time.  Action with Vision is making a positive difference.”