Noblesse oblige is the motto of the National Honor Society. But before I ever heard of NHS, I knew “noblesse oblige.” I learned it from a teacher in the sixth grade. I came up through school before “TAG” (talented and gifted) was well-known, maybe before the term existed. But my teacher recognized something in me.
She taught me that, yes, I was special. I had talents that others would never have. I was in the top 2% of intelligence. She believed, and taught me, noblesse oblige. Because I had been given a special gift, I owed a special responsibility to those less fortunate. I learned to help others learn. I discovered I was a pretty good teacher.
As time went on, I internalized that philosophy. From the time they could understand what it meant, I taught it to my children. Yes, they inherited my intelligence. And they internalized my belief in noblesse oblige. So I teach when I can, I learn when I can. So far, I’m doing fairly well. Noblesse oblige. Learn it. Live it. Privilege of any sort requires commensurate responsibility. Make the world a better place, or at least your little corner of it.