Service before self signifies the proper ordering of priorities. The welfare of the organization comes before the individual’s. While the focus is on service to Lambda Chi Alpha and broader communities, the idea also incorporates the concept of stewardship, of holding something of value in trust for others.
The Value in Action
When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred in 2013 the men of Kappa-Upsilon Zeta at Bradley University were motivated to hold a philanthropic event. The members rallied together and planned a 5k Run for Boston to raise funds for the Boston Athletic Association to assist the victims. The brothers volunteered at the event and even funded the event to make it happen. The 5k was held two weeks after the tragedy and the chapter raised $4,000 for the victims.
A large amount of money went to the Richard Family Fund. This family experienced unfathomable loss when the mother and two children were caught near an explosion. The mother Denise suffered a blow to the head causing serious brain trauma while her 7-year-old daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs. Martin, their 8-year-old son, was tragically killed during this attack which left their father Bill with major medical and funeral expenses.
This is an example of being an advocate and getting involved in your community. Not because you have to do it but because you want to help those in need of your assistance. At the core of our teachings we are called to be servant leaders.
How do we judge a fraternity? Louis Robbins (1912), a writer in the 1919 Purple, Green and Gold magazine, builds a strong case that outsiders form their opinions about a fraternity by judging the character of the men who belong to the group. What justifies the existence of a fraternity like ours? Our only justification is also our only product — our brothers as seen by others.
All of our symbols, like our badge, coat of arms, and letters, give evidence of something deeper that is part of our experience as brothers and associate members of Lambda Chi Alpha. Our Constitution and bylaws, Initiation Ritual, and even our personal experience of brotherhood don’t tell the whole story.
There is a principle that is reflected in all of the outward signs of our fraternal bond. That principle, which can be found in every symbolic aspect of Lambda Chi Alpha, is the spirit of service.
Through service we are called to act. This call will show those around us that the primary way to serve is by setting an example and answering the call to action. Through action comes experiences, memories and opportunities to assist those in need.
We are reminded by our founders, organizers, and builders to serve others without the expectation of reward or recognition. We are called upon by our creed to sacrifice for others to the point of suffering and humiliation.
Ultimately, we are called upon to distinguish ourselves from other men by bravely following the difficult path to reaching the goal of perfect service to others.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.Mahatma Gandhi
The Take Away
Put the welfare of Lambda Chi Alpha, your chapter, and your brothers and associate members before your own. Know that as a brother or associate member you will make an impact on people’s lives by giving back.
The values of service and stewardship are indelibly linked. As the author Peter Block writes, “Part of the meaning of stewardship is to hold in trust the well-being of some larger entity — our organization, our community, the earth itself — for others. To hold something of value in trust calls for placing service ahead of self. There is humility in stewardship, it evokes images of service. Service is central to the idea of stewardship.” Service and stewardship, and through them the commitment to something greater than ourselves, are the antidote to self-interest and selfishness. Central to our notion of brotherhood and leadership is the concept of servant leadership, the understanding that serving the legitimate needs of others and the causes we are committed to defines the true nature of leadership. When we commit to service, and we practice good stewardship, we honor our past and acknowledge that we have a future. If we follow the example of our founders and early leaders, we will always strive to leave Lambda Chi Alpha better than we found it; those who follow deserve nothing less. Adding the values of service and stewardship continues to build your foundation and further prepares you to meet the challenges of True Brotherhood.