I’m amazed at my dog’s loyalty to me. As a rule, she really only wants to be wherever I am.
When I feed her in the morning, I stay in the room where her dish is because she’ll follow me out of the room rather than eat if I go elsewhere in the house. If I’m at my desk, she is either on the floor beside me or on the sofa a few feet away. If I’m in my recliner, she’ll be on the next sofa cushion with her nose inches away. If I’m in the shower, she lays on the bath mat.
Whenever I walk to a different level of the house, she is at my side. When I go to bed at night, she crawls under the bed and stays there motionless until my alarm goes off. According to my wife, she moves to the front door late afternoon about the time I’m due home, eagerly waiting and whimpering for my return.
Her loyalty to me is a sweet expression of love similar to what is experienced by many with their pets. I try to be good enough to her to earn that loyalty.
That makes me wonder about our loyalty to other people. What are the motives? How is it expressed? Is it earned?
Loyalty to family seems to be a given for most. I feel sorry for families that experience turmoil among themselves and who do not have that loyalty to one another.
Loyalty to one’s job is generally a good thing, but is conditioned in part on the employer’s loyalty back to the employee – something that doesn’t always happen.
Customers can be loyal to brands even to the point of irrational fanaticism (think Apple here).
Loyalty to one’s country is generally a good thing as well, although loyalty to particular leaders can turn into more of a cult following than intelligent, shared ideology.
To the extent that loyalty is optional, there is a strong element of trust needed in order for it to be present. I hope that I am trustworthy enough for others – not just my dog – to be loyal to me.
Leap year lesson #306 is Loyalty is earned.