Living Our Elevated Ethics


Photo Credit 2

Korbin Peterson, Journalist

“The Elevated Ethics are probably the most accurately named set of values. They literally do elevate your life.”  —Savannah Lorcher, LANV Junior

As Williamsburgers we say that we hold close to the principles of build, serve, respect, and go first. But what exactly do these principles mean? And, most importantly, why do we follow them?

One of the elevated ethics is build. Peter A. Jensen, a mentor for Williamsburg said this about the ethic of build: “One thought I have on one of the elevated ethics is the concept of building instead of tearing down. In construction, it takes quite a bit more time to build something than it does to tear something down. In our modern culture we have a tendency to want to tear down an opponent’s argument, or convince people why something is wrong. It is so much more difficult to find common ground and build something that will last. Instead of tearing down someone, find areas of agreement and build a relationship. That takes time!”

To make this easier to comprehend I’m going to compare us to a hammer. A hammer is a tool. It can be used to create beautiful architecture that is remembered. It can also be used to destroy the creations that people spend so much time creating. We are all hammers. We have the potential to create limitless possibilities and to destroy just as many. Let’s all try a bit harder to be a force of creation instead of destruction. whether it’s smiling at someone next time you’re in a bad mood instead of scowling, or it’s offering to help your younger sibling with piano instead of groaning about how annoying they are.. Let’s work together to create something bigger than we can ever achieve individually.

Respect is the next elevated ethic. It is something we come across in our daily life. It is also one of the hardest principles to live. Keslee Peterson, a junior at Williamsburg, said this, “First you have to respect yourself. You have to think respectfully about yourself and respect your mind and body. You also have to think respectfully about others. Thoughts turn into words and actions, and you need to act respectfully to others. You need to be respectful even if that person is not there to witness your disrespect. No matter how justified or right you feel, give the other person the benefit of the doubt.”

Respect can be hard to live because it involves a self-mastery over thoughts and actions. Even if we may have a difficult time respecting someone in our thoughts, we all need to strive to respect each other in actions. This can be tied into the next elevated ethic of service.

Peterson continued, “If you serve someone, then that will help heal any hard feelings you may have.” And no, service isn’t how you start a volleyball game. Service is the act of placing someone else’s needs before your own. Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.”

I know from personal experience that when I serve someone it isn’t about what they might give me back or what they think of me. It is about receiving the true joy that you experience when you think of someone other than yourself. Service is a method for many people to find happiness. Service is also at the heart of our school. At Elevation, one of our many activities is service. Our leaders understand that service is one of the best ways to leave selfishness behind.

“Going first means . . . well, Williamsburg students are really good at going first. We see this often, like when nothing is happening in class. Williamsburgers are the students that call out the awkwardness and just start talking about something. Go First people are the ones who volunteer to help out without any notice,” said freshman Brooklyn Kelsey. In our lives, we all have those “awkward moments.” Sometimes that awkward moment involves you stepping up and being the first to do something good. Other times it is stepping away from something bad and setting the right example for others to do the same thing. Whatever your “awkward moment” is, I would ask everyone to go first and to be a leader.

I would encourage all of you to hold dear to these elevated ethics. Make them a part of your everyday life and strive, with all diligence, to live them. “Elevate yourself. Elevate others. If you do this, you will start to see an elevated world,” said Lorcher.