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Character of a Winner: Reverent

Praying Hands

What does it mean to be “reverent”? If you said that it means you must be a good, church-going Christian, you’re wrong.

rev·er·ence (rvr-ns)

n.

1. A feeling of profound awe and respect and often love; veneration. See Synonyms at honor.

2. An act showing respect, especially a bow or curtsy.

3. The state of being revered.

4. Reverence Used as a form of address for certain members of the Christian clergy: Your Reverence.

tr.v. rev·er·enced, rev·er·enc·ing, rev·er·enc·es

To consider or treat with profound awe and respect; venerate.


rever·enc·er n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

To be faithful to the principles of religious doctrine, one must revere a spiritual power greater than himself. But it is possible to be reverent – deeply respectful of and loving towards – other people, principles, and things. Have you ever sat in a darkened amphitheater and felt sheer awe at the music played by a symphonic orchestra? Have you ever watched the red brick sky glowing in the dusk before a hurricane? Have you ever watched seen pictures of Mother Theresa ministering to the sick and poor, or of Gandhi setting an example to the world of peaceful resistance to injustice? All of those things inspire reference.

To be successful, we must recognize and revere those who have laid the groundwork for our accomplishments: the scientists, philosophers, politicians, and others who shaped the world before our birth; our parents, who gave us life; our many teachers, who generously shared their knowledge and taught us how to slake our own thirst for it; our friends, who mirrored us and showed us what we wanted to be and not to be; our colleagues who mentored us; our children, who humbled us and taught us what matters and what doesn’t, ultimately.

Recognizing the contributions of others, and working hard to lay the foundation for future generations’ success, is part of the notion of “paying one’s dues.” Give reverence before seeking to be revered.

To be reverent is to be humble; it is to recognize that we are not the center of the universe. But it is also to see the world with childlike eyes – to marvel at a rainbow. To gasp in awe at a cathedral, to contemplate what human minds can conceive, human hands and sweat can produce. It is to marvel at the brilliance of scientific innovation in service of humanity. Watch this and see if it doesn’t inspire reverence:

 

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About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at http://jahangiri.us/new.

About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at http://jahangiri.us/new.

Comments

  1. It’s true. Reverence comes from humility. We have to be humble enough to think that others are better than us and deserve to be revered.

    • Shine, I think it’s possible to revere and respect those who are our equals and peers. We needn’t be so humble as to think “others are better than us” (at least not in all things), but to at least recognize that others have strengths and talents and abilities we don’t, and that we and the world are better off for that diversity. We can appreciate each other without needing to feel superior OR subservient to everyone else, I think.

  2. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, whether selecting a shopping cart at WalMart or comitting to marriage…do it wrong and without reverance for the act and you’ll end up pushing around a cart with one flat wheel and high blood pressure.

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