Whom do you owe Primary Loyalty

What is Loyalty?

Synonyms for loyalty – devotion, allegiance, fairness, fealty, reverence

Loyalty is a term used to describe devotion and faithfulness to a person, a group, a nation (either one’s nation’s of birth or a nation by oath), an idea, or a philosophy.

Loyalty defines your character and what you are committed to. In life, we all should have something that we are committed at doing.

Loyalty requires much commitment and persistence. You spend a lot of time and energy to achieve what you want.

Whom Do You Owe Loyalty?

Loyalty has many faces: it can be single or multiple, exclusionary or non-exclusionary. Also, the degree of loyalty given varies. You give loyalty to a person, a family, a group, a religious ideology, a religion, a nation, etc. The strength of loyalty of each would vary. However, in some cases multiple loyalty can cause conflict. One person or group or idea is more important than the other.

Jesus recognizes that human beings meet these conflicts when he says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon” ” In such a way, this tells us that you must seek to serve a proper ‘object’ of loyalty. That object encompass “anyone or anything to which one’s heart can become attached or devoted” (John Ladd). 

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In the song below, consider to whom loyalty is owed most. Can you determine the singer’s ideology concerning friendship and money?



“Mamma,” said Susie Dean, one summer’s morning, “may I go to the woods, and pick berries?”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. Dean, “but you must take Rover with you.” Susie brought her little basket, and her mother put up a nice lunch for her. She tied down the cover, and fastened a tin cup to it. The little girl called Rover—a great Newfoundland dog—and gave him a tin pail to carry. “If I bring it home full, mamma,” she said, “won’t you make some berry cakes for tea?” Away she tripped, singing as she went down the lane and across the pasture.

When she got to the woods, she put her dinner basket down beside a tree, and began to pick berries. Rover ran about, chasing a squirrel or a rabbit now and then, but never straying far from Susie. The tin pail was not a very small one. By the time it was two thirds full, Susie began to feel hungry, and thought she would eat her lunch. Rover came and took his place at her side as soon as she began to eat. Did she not give him some of the lunch? No, she was in a selfish mood, and did no such thing.

“There, Rover, run away! there’s a good dog,” she said; but Rover stayed near her, watching her steadily with his clear brown eves. The meat he wanted so much, was soon eaten up; and all he got of the nice dinner, was a small crust of gingerbread that Susie threw away. After dinner, Susie played a while by the brook. She threw sticks into the water, and Rover swam in and brought them back. Then she began to pick berries again. She did not enjoy the afternoon as she did the morning.

The sunshine was as bright, the berries were as sweet and plentiful, and she was neither tired nor hungry. But good, faithful Rover was hungry, and she had not given him even one piece of meat. She tried to forget how selfish she had been; but she could not do so, and quite early she started for home. When she was nearly out of the woods, a rustling in the underbrush attracted her attention. “I wonder if that is a bird or a squirrel,” said she to herself. “If I can catch it, how glad I shall be!”

She tried to make her way quietly through the underbrush; but what was her terror when she saw it large snake coiled up before her, prepared for a spring! She was so much frightened that she could not move; but brave Rover saw the snake, and, springing forward, seized it by the neck and killed it.

When the faithful dog came and rubbed his head against her hand, Susie put her arms ’round his neck, and burst into tears. “O Rover,” she cried, “you dear, good dog! How sorry I am that I was so selfish!” Rover understood the tone of her voice, if he did not understand her words, and capered about in great glee, barking all the time. You may be sure that he had a plentiful supper that evening. Susie never forgot the lesson of that day. She soon learned to be on her guard against a selfish spirit, and became a happier and more lovable little girl. Mrs. M. O. Johnson—Adapted.

Choosing a Primary Loyalty

People can have primary loyalty to someone, a group, and even a nation. A citizen may pledge allegiance to a nation (to the country they live) and have a secondary loyalty to another country (the ancestors’ country). This type of loyalty is not dual loyalty, because it is unequal; but rather it is denotes loyalty in degrees. The story below exemplifies the idea of primary loyalty.

Primary loyalty determines which duties are most important for an individual. However, you should note that there are competing interest for your loyalty. Example: A company may seek greater brand loyalty from its customers; a political party may seek greater allegiance to it during election; a social group may seek more support from the general public, the government may need more citizens in their army or navy, even you have to decide is your best friend, etc. You must decide to whom you owe your loyalty (particularly your primary and secondary loyalty).

Questions of Loyalty

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine to whom you should owe your primary loyalty:

  1. Is it fair?
  2. Is it fair to give what you have to the object of your loyalty?
  3. Is it the right thing to do?
  4. What laws am I breaking giving primary loyalty to one?
  5. If I don’t speak or act in a particular way, what could happen?
  6. What ethical standards and moral code do I stand for?
  7. Is the object of your loyalty good?
  8. Does your loyalty have virtue?

A Loyal Friend

Read the passage carefully. Then answer the questions below.

One crisp, clear winter day, an ideal day for skating, Bob decided to try his brand new skates. His faithful dog, Spot, went with him. When Bobby reach the pond, he did not stop to test the ice. Soon, he was having a delightful time; when suddenly Spot began to bark, for his keen ears had caught the sound of ice cracking. Bob did not heed him, but kept on skating. Suddenly the ice gave way. Spot dashed to the place where his little master had disappeared and with some difficulty succeeded in pulling him out. It was luck for Bob that a friendly neighbour happened to be passing, for he carried him home. As a result, Bob had a sever cold all that week. After that experience, he never neglected to find out if the ice was solid before he went skating.

Loyalty binds people together. friendship, marriages, even nations are built on loyalty.

  1. What happened to bob when he ignored the barking dog?
  2. Do you think Bob showed that he trusted the dog?
  3. Why do you think he did that?
  4. What should Bob had done?

Scenarios to Discuss

Here are some scenarios you can discuss in class or with your parents to better understand loyalty.

Your scout group ask you to sell four boxes of chocolate to raise funds for a needy family. You discover that the chocolate was recalled by the manufacturer. Do you sell the boxes of chocolate knowing the money can help a needy family or do you return the boxes to the manufacturer?

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A bully in school threatens you. You can give him your snack money everyday, become his friend and join him bullying others students or report his behaviour to the principal. Which would you choose and why?

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You are given two options concerning a friend who does not have a math book:

  1. Ignore that your poor friend (who does not have a math textbook) needs a math textbook to pass his or her test tomorrow;
  2. Or lend your poor friend your math textbook so he or she can review for the math exam tomorrow and lie to your parents stating you forgot the textbook in your desk.
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You are dressed appropriately to go in and jump in a bouncy castle. Your friend is not. This is the last time you will be able to jump in a bouncy castle. Do you go in and leave your friend or stay out and miss your opportunity to jump again.

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Would you share your excess bounty of fruits from your backyard garden with your neighbours, or would you eat as much as you can and discard the balance?

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Do you allow a family member to lie or would you correct them even though they may accuse you of being disloyal?

Your loyalty to a person at work allows you to earn more than is equitable on that job. Would you continue making that your object of loyalty, or discontinue that loyalty?

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Would you belittle and trash a person’s name just to prove your loyalty to someone, a group, or an ideology?

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You have a second job where you bake and decorate cakes for people. Would you sell a small cake to someone holding a birthday party (having agreed on the look and price of the cake) and knowing that just half the cake is edible?

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Would you steal to prove your loyalty to a friend or your family?

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Tom helps his mother sell newspapers every Monday and Wednesday, while his mother works part-time at the City Corporation. His mother must raise enough money in a short period of time in order to pay for his younger sister’s medical expenses. He lies to his teacher about why he is absent. Is he doing the right thing? If he continues doing this, what are some of the things that could happen?

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Doubles vendor, Sam, raises his price by $1.00 for a doubles. He predicts the price of food will raise because of the new upcoming government budget. Marcia and Jake always buys doubles from Sam, but really do not like the new price. So they buy their doubles from another vendor who kept the old price. Is it fair that vendor Sam raises his price? Did Marcia and Jake did a fair thing when they buy from another vendor? If Marcia and Jake bought Sam’s doubles, what are some of the things that could happen?