Final Tenet of the Code – Be an Example to Children
Wood: Olive – The olive tree represents youth, vigor and nurturing and the olive branch is often offered as a symbolic offering of peace. In the Bible, following the great flood, Noah sent out a dove. The dove returned with a leaf from an olive tree representing rebirth and a world born anew. The bark of the tree is very green and it remains green and soft long after it is cut giving the impression that is forever youthful and never fully matured
Symbol: Heart within a heart. The strong heart of a man must protect, teach and feed the tender, developing heart of the child.
This is the last of the tenets of the code. It comes last not because it is the least important but because it encompasses everything that comes before it. For in everything we do we are setting the tone for future generations.
Children are sponges. They easily and quickly absorb everything they see and hear. They are quick to mimic our conduct. If we provide the example of honoring the truth, our children will understand the value of leading their life with integrity. If we respect confidentiality, our children are less likely to find power in gossip. If we embrace all men and defend humanity our children are more likely to find comfort in inclusion rather than false power from exclusion.
In the Book of Proverbs from the Old Testament there is a passage that says, “Start a boy on the right road, and even in old age he will not leave it.” How often do we bring back vivid memories from our childhood? Close your eyes and think back as far as you can. Possibly as far back as when you were five or four or even three. Your mind will settle on a moment, a memory. Now think how often that moment impacted upon you in later years. Did it provide a model of behavior for you? Did it provide a place of comfort? Or did it raise a sense of fear and ill ease? As we stand here today, we have the opportunity to forge the path of the future and to carry the wisdom of the men who came before us by being an example for children.
There are three ways a man can leave a legacy: by the children he sires – by passing on his DNA; by the things he builds – passing on his material wealth; or by the people he touches throughout his life by sharing his wisdom. Of the three, the third can be the most profound and far-reaching and can often extend well beyond our expectations because we never know who is watching or who is listening. The example that you live is your legacy. Cherish and protect it.