By Justin Gates
Let’s talk about Accountability. Many of us adhere to a certain code of conduct found within our group or organization. Others follow a self defined set of rules on how they conduct themselves. Others still, follow a simple standard of behavior defined by the culture they live in. Let me share something I learned many, many years ago when I was a freshmen in HS….
“Discipline is the state of an individual’s mind, developed through training that leads to self and unit pride, and which results in a willing response to authority or personal initiative where a lack of authority exists”
This was the definition of discipline that I learned in my days with the JROTC program at my HS. Within it, lies the basics for discipline as well as self accountability.
Accountability should, in my mind, always be a self initiated action first and foremost. Having respect for ourselves and in turn having at the very least a basic respect for those around us, I would think, would cause us to take pause when dealing with others when we disagree or take issue with a perceived slight upon our person. This does not always happen, in fact, I have been guilty of this very thing from time to time myself.
This ideal serves as an exercise for me, as much as anyone else who may be listening.
If you belong to a group that touts “Standards and practices” for recognition of a title, especially a title of “Knight”, which in itself carries many preconceptions, and if you tout these same standards and practices and carry proudly a title such as “Knight” that was given to you by said group, then you should already be working to uphold these standards and ideals for which you were given the title in the first place. Especially if you are teaching others and being an example for others aspiring to be where you are within the group.
Sometimes, however, we need help from our Brothers and Sisters. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the oaths we take and of the standards of conduct that we promised to uphold. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the responsibility that we are entrusted with by our colleagues, by our friends, by those who respect and trust us to do the Right thing. If we cannot hold ourselves accountable to the promises we made to uphold those standards we were entrusted with, then we must be held accountable.
Let me share something that Charles once said, since we are on the topic. I defer to his statement as I do not wish for it to seem like I am coming from any other place other than a place of sincerity….
“If every time you see a Knight fall you say to them, you are no Knight, or you are not acting Knightly, you do nothing for their fall. Instead remind them of the virtues they uphold, remind them of their training, encourage them to seek clarity and focus. The path is not a title to be used to encourage right action, nor is it a cookie to be rewarded. It is a path. As such it is to be walked upon, to fall upon, to even question the value of walking down it. However, a person walks a path for the destinations, for the joy of walking a path. In this, remind a Knight not that they have a name attached to them, but the value they have in the path, the training they have endured, and the purpose they have sought.”
If you stray from the standards and practices that you have promised to uphold, it does not mean that you have lost meaning or purpose, it does not mean that you have lost value to others who walk a similar path, it just means that it may be time to sit and look within for a little while. Take an internal inventory of where you are and where you are coming from in that moment. Take a step back away from the irritant that has caused you to act against your better nature. This has been a good reminder for me, and I hope you have found value in it as well.
Awaken the Knight Within!