My first introduction to the word “allegiance” came when I was in elementary school, where we were taught to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning after the bell rang.
There I stood with my glasses and pigtails, facing the flag, hand on my heart, reciting the daily pledge with as much spunk as anyone could muster at 8 a.m.
I didn’t really know what allegiance and loyalty meant or the impact it would actually have on my life — that is, until I was much older and those words would grow to become so meaningful and significant to me.
I mean, honestly — do we ever really think about someone’s allegiance or loyalty until it’s called into question?
Allegiance is the loyalty or commitment of an individual to a group or cause: We can have allegiance to our country, our families, our children and our religion.
Loyalty, on the other hand, is the faithfulness to commitments or obligations, to a person, place or thing: We can be loyal to our friends, to a particular restaurant, to a certain grocery store or to our hairdresser.
But how loyal are we, really?
Are we loyal shoppers only until the next best thing? (Code name “Consumer Chameleon.”)
Are we loyal to our friends and family members until they get divorced or break up? (The Blood is Thicker than Water Law.)
Are we loyal to our partners only until someone better comes along? (The Bigger, Better Deal Syndrome.)
Are we loyal to people just as a means to social climb or attach ourselves to their connections? (Otherwise known as social engineering or social agenda fraud.)
C’mon, let’s face it — loyalty these days seems to have a shelf life. You know, an expiration date. Kinda like milk. I feel like it’s dependent on circumstance and situation and very temporary.
But allegiance — well, allegiance, in my opinion, is permanent and comes from those who have shown consistent loyalty throughout time. Some were born into it, and others have it chosen for them.
People still side with those they are allegiant to even if they are unhappy with them. It’s a longtime bond that stays strong and never changes, no matter the circumstance.
Even with religion, when our faith has been tested, we still remain loyal and allegiant to God.
Being the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I was taught early on about loyalty. My father would always say, “Karin, be careful who you give your loyalty to because that person might have an allegiance elsewhere.”
My father was right.
What I have grown to see in my life is that allegiance outweighs loyalty, and the only people you really owe your loyalty to are those who never make you question theirs.
Until Next Week,