Posted: September 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

When I was growing up I was told that a man’s word is his bond. A handshake was as binding as any written contract and if a word is given, it was a point of honor to deliver on that hand shake. This is a hallmark of America that has helped to shape the face of our great country. It has been said that if a man’s word is his bond, a handshake is a contract.
Make no mistake, our country is not perfect and there are those that have since the beginning or our nation taken advantage of others by misleading and lying. However, the majority of our population could be trusted and when a person stuck out his hand, the deal was done.
The handshake is depicted in Greek carvings as far back as 500 BC and depicts peace since the two hands are empty. Today this gesture is used as a greeting, a farewell, a sign of sportsmanship and of course to make an agreement. In many Islamic countries men shaking hands with a woman is frowned on. Also shaking with the left is never to be done as I quickly learned upon arriving in Saudi Arabia. The left hand is used for cleaning oneself while the right hand is used for eating and of course greeting. While the customs have grown for well over 2,500 years, the commitment of the hand shake has been formed as a sort of honor to live up to what we committed to.
Many of us were taught at an early age that a man’s word is to be trusted, if you go back on your word you will never be trusted and there will be reluctance do business with you. This is simple, straight forward and true. When I left the navy I entered the Construction program at Northeast Louisiana, now ULM. That summer my first class was taught by the department head and founder of one of the most successful programs in the country. The professor, Thurman Potts, walked into the class room the first day and passed out a small slip of paper to each student. On it was written, “Integrity. Definition: Outspoken honesty. His actions were above reproach.” He told us this would be on the first test and if there was nothing else taken from the class, this should be.
This concept is so very important in life today and served as a hallmark of our nation in the early formative days. We have to be politically correct instead of performing the correct thing. We have to have an army of lawyers to interpret contracts so complex that it takes the army to figure it out instead of simple terms and conditions that would been based on trust and honor.
When researching a political topic I came across a letter from a politician in the 1930s. There was no one more dedicated to the Democratic Party in the United States than this individual. He had been head of the Louisiana Democratic Central Committee, four time delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was personal friend of President Roosevelt. A friend had asked him to assist getting another man a job. A letter was prepared that stated that it didn’t matter who the man was and who his parents were and it didn’t matter if his political affiliation was Republican, the one thing that mattered was whether the person was a good man because that is what really matters in life.. If he was, then he would be helped.
If this simple rule could be applied to our day to day life then the world would be a much better place to live.


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