GMC News

Word of the Week: Duty

Word of the Week: Duty
Week of August 16 – August 22, 2015
Definition: something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.

“Soldiers, when committed to a task, can't compromise.  Its unrelenting devotion to the standards of duty and courage, absolute loyalty to others, not letting the task go until it's been done.”  – John Keegan

“Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.”      –  Andrew Carnegie

“The duty of helping one's self in the highest sense involves the helping of one's neighbors.”
  – Samuel Smiles

“Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard farther than the loudest call to duty.”
– Earl Wilson

“The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them.”
– Lois McMaster Bujold

Let’s Get to the Point:
What duties are you responsible for?  I bet if you take just a minute and start thinking of all the duties you do (or have), it would be quite a list.  From parenting to friendships to exercise to employment to volunteering, the list is endless.  Just think of all the duties you have to your employer, and if you are the employer, think of all the duties you have to your employers.  I would suspect that if you neglect some of your duties, that the repercussions would not be pretty.  Or how about the duties you have to your significant other?  What happens when you forget one of those?  Ever forgotten to pick up a child from an activity?  That is definitely a duty we hate to be inattentive to!
Putting Words into Action:
Life happens and we forget things.  But neglecting to do our duties to others is sometimes indefensible. If we expect others to their duties, then we should do the same.  And sometimes it can be a duty as trivial as unlocking a door, but when you are the one stuck outside in the rain with your hands full, it makes for a bad situation.  I would also bet we all are a little perturbed when someone in payroll doesn’t do their duty correctly.
Think About It:
So before you get all bent out of shape when someone doesn’t do their duty, remember  that the shoe could be on the other foot and you are the one that lets the others down. 

Duty is more than a four letter word.  It carries an awful lot of responsibility to be such a small two syllable word.  One of the biggest duties in my life is to prepare each day to teach my students.  I am sure that Eighth Grade English/Language Arts is not the most fascinating subject to many of my students.  They do not share the love or passion that I have for my subject matter.  Therefore, I must present my material in a way that the students can ‘get it’ without realizing they are learning.  If I did not prepare myself daily, then MAJ Gebel’s English class would be a huge failure. By accepting the position as educator, I have a duty to my students to be the best I can be.  I would bet if you stopped and thought about some of the most influential teachers in your career, this trait would be at the top of the list in describing that person.   

Each of us has a number of duties we are responsible for.  Think about the many hats you wear every day and all the duties they entail.  I would suspect those of us who are parents can’t begin to count all the duties we carry in the rearing of our children.  For some strange reason, raising children comes with more duties than we ever could have imagined.  Once a child is through diapers and potty training, it’s on to the really hard stuff like social skills and behavior.  When they become teenagers and think they know everything, that’s when our duty as a parent increases tenfold.  After they graduate, our duties may decrease, but our responsibilities never will.  If you really think about it, most of the duties we are responsible for never end; they just morph into new ones.

William Barclay once said “In the time we have it is surely our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can.”  Isn’t that the true definition of this trait?  If we do what is expected of us, then we will do good for others.  Life is about friendships and love, and by being mindful of those around us, we will not forget our duties to others.

MAJ Brent Gebel has a duty to the readers to provide Word of the Week reflections that are thought provoking and memorable from his desk at Georgia Military College Prep School.