There are many things that come to my mind when I think of honor. One thing that comes to my mind is one of my favorite Disney movies: “Mulan.” The first musical number is titled “Bring Honor to Us All,” in which Mulan, as well as the other young women of her community, must prepare to meet with the matchmaker, who matches them with a young man to marry.
This is an essential part of their culture, because a woman’s status comes from her husband. The verses represent the promise that Mulan’s future life will have if her meeting with the matchmaker goes well, proving she is an acceptable woman in their society and bringing honor to her family.
Mulan unfortunately did not have a successful meeting with the matchmaker, but forged her own path by pretending to be a soldier and fighting against the attacking Huns. Her family was terrified after learning of her decision, but her actions brought honor not only to her family but to her country as well.
Although in our society we don’t have to worry about the pressures of arranged marriages, honor still holds emphasis in our culture. The dictionary defines honor as respect that is given to someone who is admired; good reputation: good quality or character as judged by other people. It is hard to talk about honor without talking about integrity and self-respect.
I was just accepted into Student Honor Council and I cannot wait to have a voice in shaping the way my fellow students view honor. We sign the honor code at the top of our tests, but do we really think about what it means? About exactly what we are writing? Probably not.
CNU fosters narrative around these topics through organizations like the Center for Honor Enrichment and Community Standards, Hall Council and Student Honor Council, just to name a few. Opportunities like this allow students to actively be a part of the CNU community by upholding the values in our honor code, which reads as follows:
“On my honor, I will maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility. This means I will not lie, cheat, or steal and as a member of this academic community, I am committed to creating an environment of respect and mutual trust.”
To me, honor isn’t about always making the right decision or being a cookie-cutter version of a “perfect student,” “perfect friend,” etc. To me, honor is about striving for the highest level of success through your beliefs, personal values and morals. Not everyone may agree with your choices, but being able to stand behind what you believe in is honorable. Making choices that benefit you and your community is honorable. Standing apart from the crowd is honorable.
Don’t be afraid to live an honorable life. It may not always be the popular decision, but it is a rewarding decision. Just ask Mulan.