"The scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and good faith." ~ Confucius.
Some say loyalty is dead. A quaint and outdated notion that has been swept aside by the multiple choices and options now immediately available to us. Technology gives us the ability to instantly compare prices, products, positions and yes ~ even people. Inevitably we all compare "value" in our never ending quest for something or someone that fills our "needs". We all want the best deal, best job, best price, best products and the best life and so we compare - so what?
There is a beloved story, told in Japan, that talks to children about loyalty. Hachi-ko was the family dog of a well known Tokyo University professor who every day met his owner at the train station as he returned home from work. The ritual was observed by passengers for many years as the professor got off the train and warmly greeted his loyal Akita. The poignant scene of a man and his best friend walking into the darkness together after a long day was shared and understood by all. After his owner suffered a stroke at work and died Hachi-ko appeared at the train station every day for nine years waiting for his master to get off the train. Every day Hachi-ko came and waited for his friend. Every day he came, for nine years, until he too died.
It's only natural for us to compare and seek out what is best for our needs. Whether it be price, position, product or indeed people. It's good to have many options. It's good to have choices. But in this life there are a few things that we can't buy and sell. Every now and again our life brings us into contact with other lives, values and people that transcend transactional thinking. They are like Hachi-ko. We remain loyal to them regardless of circumstance, adversity, or the promises of "better". We remain loyal not because we don't appreciate our other options and choices but because we recognize something special. Something rare. Loyalty is a rare and beautiful thing. It's not dead. It's not quaint. It's hard to give and even harder to find. But like anything that is truly rare, and wanted by so many - Loyalty is Priceless.