19 December 2017 – Thoughts on Our Community

***DISCLAIMER***

These statements have been written by volunteer student contributors, and are in no way reflective of the individual opinions of staff members or the Old Gold and Black as a whole. In addition, these student statements are not meant to be interpreted as representative of the thoughts or feelings of the student body as a whole.

***DISCLAIMER***

 

By: Drake H. McCormick, Contributing Writer

In this interesting and ever-changing time, individuals experience the unprecedented freedom to find fault with various ideas, remedies, and practices that were previously accepted. For all practical purposes, these challenges to popular belief often beget advancement, for better or for worse. Differing ideas are good for a society, especially one comprised of learned people, as our minds can be expanded and our perspectives broadened. We learn to become more understanding and empathetic, as well as solidified in our own foundational thoughts.

Wofford College offers this type of formative experience for all students – an experience that helps us delve deep into a particular course of study, yet understand the broad nature of education and how multiple facets fit together. It gives us the opportunity to interact, engage and live with and around all types of people; again, making us all the better because of it. What better way to grow and learn than being able to play a role in an engaged, cohesive and supportive community?

Every community, though, inevitably faces its own challenges. Difficulties arise, people disagree, and our leaders and loved ones sometimes make mistakes. It is in the wake of these challenges that a successful community must come together and support one another – even those that do wrong. For is it not at their weakest and most vulnerable that those that make mistakes need that support? As a sinful part of our human nature, we find it especially easy to pass judgement and shame far too quickly, and cast aside those that have been tarnished. We at Wofford ought to be the exception to this rule. While mistakes are hurtful for all parties, grace and forgiveness aids in the healing process. “To those whom much is given, much is expected,” – grace and compassion included.

“Shining with untarnished honor” is our motto as well as our battle cry. Notice, however, that the iconic phrase does not include the word “blameless.” What is honorable is sometimes bitter and messy, but grace and forgiveness of an understanding community helps to wipe away the stain and let the shine come through. Sometimes the most honorable thing to do is to admit wrong, and then turn away and learn from it.

As a community, we all should not forget that motto, its meaning and the context in which it was written. We would all be foolish to think that those we hold to such high esteem would not disappoint us or make mistakes of their own from time to time – we are all human. Though wrongful behavior that leads to mistakes and regrets ought not and should not be tolerated, the support and humility that accompanies those who stand alongside and help our fellow friends that have fallen astray is integral to the strength of a community.

When one of our own, who has done so much to better and strengthen our community, has fallen down, how will we help them? Shame and judgement are the more popular sentiments, but they are not the most honorable. I pray for guidance and wisdom in the coming days for our community, as well as discernment for our leaders, so that our community can continue to shine with untarnished honor, because grace, truth, and humility have wiped the smudges away. Dear old Wofford, hail.

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