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The Code – Honor
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 11/10/2014

Peopleholdinghands Everybody who seeks honor knows they must have a code to abide by. No person can possess honor unless they know the expectations of such a reputation or legacy since it has been engraved in history by those who have fought valiantly and with gallantry war after war and died for the cause or lived to tell their story. Regardless, they all have a code in their personal and professional lives to live by.

Some are warriors while others were scholars. Some are doctors while others are first responders. There are no rules for what you have to do to attain honor but there are rules how to maintain such extra-ordinary recognition as those qualities possessed determine your own character or behaviors. Recognizing such traits will keep you on track and allow you to be confident you are on the right road to building your own skills that work in conjunction with compassion, benevolence and other true qualities of mortality.

First there must be “justice or rectitude” in your mindset. It must be your strongest virtue or possession. This is the power that persuades you how to decide to take a course of action or conduct. This must be your divine motivator without wavering your thoughts. This will decide when to die and whether to die is the right thing to do. Rectitude or justice is your bone or skeleton system that keeps you upright and gives you firmness and stature. To stand tall on principle and to know when to strike is the right time to strike.

You must have courage and know the difference between bravery and courage. Courage is worthy of knowing your virtues if exercised in righteousness or justice is the right thing to do. In other words, courage is doing what is right. Confucius said “Perceiving what is right and doing it not reveals a lack of courage.”

A person who is invested with the power to command and the balance of life or death is expected to demonstrate an extra-ordinary amount of benevolence and mercy for mankind. Love, affection and even those controversial qualities of sympathy and pity are traits of benevolence and is the highest attribute of the human heart and soul.

One quality that is rooted in benevolence is politeness. A true human must possess the trait of courtesy and know the difference between flattery and politeness. This focuses on the feelings of others. It cannot be motivated by fear and offends good taste of judgment if done so.

Another form of poor taste is to exercise a greed for money. A person must grudge money for richness hinders wisdom. One should focus on honesty and sincerity and know the difference between ignorance and wisdom to encourage thrift and abstinence for the taste of luxury or richness. This is a simplistic rule to live by and honored by many as it reflects the inner soul more than the lust for money.

Man must have honor in the sense of maintaining a consciousness of personal dignity and self-worth. This does not limit man to any calling but rather provides a continuum which may be applied to any profession or occupation chosen. He or she must value the duties and privileges of such profession. There should never be a fear of disgrace or ridicule for having honor means to have the patience to bear the unbearable.

One virtue or quality that can or may destroy any organization is loyalty. True loyalty is to remain standing alongside of those to whom they are indebted to support and follow. This is a most distinctive rule to live by. Personal fidelity can be measured by the quality of acts that follow. In the code of honor, loyalty assumes a paramount importance.

Putting this all together, mankind should behave according to an absolute moral standard. The difference between good and evil and between right and wrong are givens and not up for negotiations. There are no arguments or matters subject to discussions or justifications. A person should know the difference.

Thus we are focusing on character and self-control. This is done by building your character. Character that includes such traits as prudence, intelligence and values. Knowing the difference between what is important and choosing compassion over confrontation and benevolence over belligerence.

These are the qualities to remember when you speak of a code of honor for any man, woman regardless of their profession. Finally, there is the ultimate obligation to teach your children the same moral standards you have lived by and modeled through your own behaviors. The focus is on educating our children to make them worthy of achieving a level of honor as they grow up.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

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