Embracing our Cardinal Principle of Friendship

Hello Sisters!

As I was preparing some remarks for our new colony’s virtual retreat, I pulled out my constitution and bylaws and dutifully reviewed OPA’s purpose, mission, and cardinal principles. As I reflected on these guiding statements, I was struck by the fact that in each case, friendship leads the way. Our purpose states that OPA develops friendship. Our mission states that OPA promotes friendship. And our cardinal principles begin with friendship. 

Our country feels more divided than I can ever remember. Perhaps the best, most influential way we can serve our universities, our communities, our sisterhood, and our nation is to recommit ourselves to developing meaningful friendships, one person at a time.

True, strong friendships share these characteristics:

  • Trust
  • Honesty and Sincerity
  • Love
  • Support
  • Respect
  • Positive Influences
  • Encouragement
  • Emotional Availability
  • Non-Judgmental Interactions
  • Selflessness
  • Time for Each Other

Our friendships are always growing and evolving. Which of these characteristics can you strive to strengthen in the coming weeks and months? How can you set an example for your sisters, your families, your co-workers, and others in your circle of influence?

It’s important to remember that we should be reflecting these attributes in all the ways we communicate with and about our friends. Are your social media posts non-judgmental and encouraging? Would you say things in person with the same honesty and sincerity that you post online?

As a result of this pandemic, many of us are feeling isolated and anxious. Social and emotional well-being depends on maintaining healthy, thriving relationships. As OPA sisters, we are committed to friendship as well as leadership and service. Make time today to connect with an old friend and reach out to someone new.

Those of us who were Girl Scouts (or Girl Scout leaders) will recall the message of this favorite campfire song that encourages us to do the same.

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.

A circle is round, it has no end.
That’s how long, I will be your friend.

A fire burns bright, it warms the heart.
We’ve been friends, from the very start.

You have one hand, I have the other.
Put them together, we have each other.

Silver is precious, gold is too.
I am precious, and so are you.

You help me and I’ll help you
and together we will see it through.

The sky is blue. The Earth is green
I can help to keep it clean

Across the land, Across the sea
Friends forever we will always be

Forever in Service,
Jan B. Titsworth
National President