Why ‘On My Honor…’ Still Matters: The Importance of Keeping High Standards


This week’s news of Brigham Young University’s suspension of basketball phenom, Brandon Davies has surprised and shocked the nation. Many were upset by the decision to suspend the leader of the nation’s number 3 basketball team just days before March Madness begins, but not me. I am proud of BYU’s enforcement of such high standards. I applaud their action.  It is an example that will serve us all well.

Bad behavior among athletes at both collegiate and professional levels has become accepted.  Hollywood bad boys and girls like Charlie Sheen and Lindsey Lohan dominate television, press, and the internet.  No one wants to be anyone’s role model any more. People don’t want consequences, they just want left alone. It’s a private matter. I’m not hurting anyone but myself. I’m special. I’m the exception to the rule. Move along.

I beg to differ. We have an obligation to our families, friends, colleagues, and communities to maintain high standards. We owe it to those who came before us, and to those who will follow after us. We should always give our best, live by a creed, and draw lines in the sand that we will not cross. Ever. But if we do, we need to accept the consequences and atone. It’s not easy when mainstream television reality shows sell the concept to win at any cost.

We begin with high standards but allow them to dissipate over time. With each success and failure we lose sight of the standards we hold ourselves and others to. In Scouting we recited our Oath and Motto aloud.  It was a commitment we made in front of each other verbally each week. It was stitched into our uniforms, embossed on the covers of our books, and displayed in posters on the walls of our meeting rooms. It was a regular part of our routine and life. I can still recite the Oath, Points, and Motto. More importantly, I still follow them.  I know they make a difference.

Davies’s actions, however, were not criminal and would not be seen by the majority of the country even as wrong. (He had premarital sex with his girlfriend.) Brigham Young enforced its honor code this week that forbids it. They chose not to turn a blind eye to a breach in their policy, which in this case may very well cost them placement in the NCAA Tournament.   I cannot even think of another college that would enforce this rule.  Still, it is their rule. Their incredibly high standard.

What happens when you set and keep incredibly high standards? You achieve incredible accomplishments.

Do you have an honor code? Does your family have standards? Do you know your company’s policies on misconduct? What rules have slipped into that gray area of indifference?

Renew, refresh, restore, and reinitiate your personal high standards. Surround yourself with people who hold you to a higher standard. The Marines and others known for their incredibly high standards incorporate them into their emblems and logos. They follow them, enforce them, and reward them. Do you?

I hope BYU and the hard working athletes on the team that kept to the rules do well. I hope Davies returns and becomes one of the great, memorable players of the game. I hope BYU’s high standards become the example of class for universities across the nation to follow. And I hope everyone looks at this news story as a personal opportunity to set or renew high standards for themselves.

We need to become better men and women, not lower our standards. Applaud and recognize those who maintain high standards. Call out those who do not, and ask them to renew their commitment or exit.

What an amazing example of leadership!

Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker. His presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and wherever people come together to be entertained and improve their lives. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.

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