Honourable Mentions


A few months ago I outlined eight strengths that will change your life. Those strengths were attitude, courage, character, duty, honour, relationships, passion, and tenacity. Each one of these strengths is critical to your success, and each one is linked in some way to all of the others. Without courage, you don’t have character. A bad attitude could mean you’re neglecting your duty. And without honour, all of these strengths could be in jeopardy. Today, I’m going to start writing about honour, and what it truly means.

Duty and honour are especially closely linked. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the modern English word duty originally came from the Latin word debutus, which means “to owe”. The word honour came from the Latin word honerum, which means “dignity, reputation, chastity, virtue, courtesy, and distinction”.

But let’s step away from the linguistics and look at how various people showed and talked about honour throughout history:

Christopher Columbus: Columbus is one of my personal heroes. Not only did he travel across the ocean to discover a new land, he did it without a map, on simple faith that eventually, he would reach safety. It’s hard to take risks—it’s scary and it’s a lot of work—but Columbus knew there was something that needed to be found, and despite the challenges, he went out and found it.

Mortimer Adler: This man was an American philosopher, educator, and author. Besides writing a long list of works on everything from education and capitalism to ethics and the arts, he also co-founded the Center for the Study of Great Ideas, which aims to encourage everyday people to realize the importance of philosophy. He explained the difference between duty and honour by putting it this way: “Duty usually involves obligations to others, but a man’s sense of honor may lead him to act in a certain way though the good of no other is involved. To maintain self-respect, he must respect a standard of conduct which he has set for himself.” And based on his body of work, I suspect Adler held himself to a very strict code of conduct.

Lester Pearson: The Prime Minister who brought in Canada’s universal healthcare, the Canada Pension Plan, and the 40-hour workweek was no stranger to honour and duty. In Canada’s centennial year, he wrote some profound words that expressed the sense of honour that he wanted the country to uphold: “Our national condition is still flexible enough that we can make almost anything we wish with our nation. No other country is in a better position than Canada to go ahead with the evolution of a national purpose devoted to all that is good and noble and excellent in the human spirit.”

These are just a few examples of the people I admire for their sense of honour. But I want to hear from you. Who is the most honourable person you know. Why? 

7 thoughts on “Honourable Mentions

  1. Claude, great post. Outside of the wonderful and readily available examples of the PC, I have been inspired by Craig Kielburger, Toronto-based philanthropist, founder of Free the Children and Me to We, and Member of the Order of Canada.

    From his Wikipedia page:
    “In 1995, when Craig Kielburger was 12 years old, Craig saw a headline in the Toronto Starnewspaper that read “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.” The accompanying story was about a young Pakistani boy named Iqbal Masih who was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four, became an international figurehead for the fight against child labour by 12 years old, and was murdered in 1995.[6]

    Kielburger did more research about child labour and asked his seventh-grade teacher to speak to his classmates on the topic. Several offered to help, and the group of pre-teens started “Kids Can Free the Children” (later Free The Children).[7]

    One of the group’s first actions was to collect 3,000 signatures on a petition to the prime minister of India, calling for the release of imprisoned child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi, who went on to win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.[8]

    In December 1995, Kielburger travelled to Asia with Alam Rahman, a 25-year-old family friend from Bangladesh, to see the conditions for himself. While there, he learnt that then-Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien was travelling to India. After initially being denied a meeting, Kielburger sat with Chretien for a 15-minute meeting to put child labour on the Prime Minister’s agenda, making headlines across Canada and internationally.[9] Upon his return, Kielburger attracted international media attention with features on 60 Minutes and the Oprah Winfrey Show. His South Asian trip was documented in his book “Free The Children” and the Judy Jackson documentary “It Takes a Child”.

  2. Thanks for another fantastic message,Claude. There are so many people that I have met throughout the last few years in Life who exemplify the true meaning of honour, that I find it difficult to mention just one. That being said, I will pick one with whom your readers can all agree upon. Mr. Chris Brady.
    Chris took both duty and honour to an entirely new level when he accepted his new position within our company. He was able to step away from the life he and Terri had known for years, and begin an entirely new path within the community. He did it with enthusiasm and with grace, rolling with the punches and taking everything in stride. He has shown thousands of people what it means to lead with humility and with strength. We are blessed to have him at the helm; and as such a prime example of true honour.
    And many thanks to you and Lana, for inspiring all of us with the same example.

  3. Thank you Claude, great examples of leadership. I have 2 that come to mind, Winston Churchill and my grandfather Alfred Ablett.
    Winston Churchill famous for his tenaity and courage and his devotion to duty no matter the cost. My grandfather was a superb example of servitude, serving in both WW1 and 2, having the courage to leave post WW1 Britain to make a better life for his family in Canada. At the end ofhis days at 83 yrs old he was still a serving secretary to 5 major organizations in Montreal, QC

  4. Great post Claude! The most honourable person I know is my grandfather Michael Ryan. He has lived his whole life selflessly, faithfully, and always serving others. He has never given any thought at all about what others would do for him, but to always do good onto others for their benefit. You won’t read about him in any history books, but he has always done his duty with honour. So proud of him! Thanks for your article.

  5. Since becoming involved in Life Leadership I have been fortunate to meet and follow many people whose honour is beyond reproach.

    But if I were to pick one individual outside the business it would be my father. That man has always given me a solid example of how a man should conduct himself. And has and continues to be a stellar role model.

  6. Thank you Claude,
    It never ceases to amaze me how you and the leaders of Life Leadership inspire me through a blog, audio or from stage! This is just what I needed!

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