Symbols are valuable as grounding and unifying objects; when groups of people are thrown together or choose to join in a common cause or purpose it is essential to choose a symbol that all can identify with and that can mark each person as a member of that particular group: a school or a competitive team, a state or a nation, a group protesting or advocating for a joint cause. One must be careful, however, not to identify too closely with a symbol, be it an animal or plant, a song or a document, or a leader or a slogan because if one becomes very closely identified with a symbol, one tends to lose their own identity and believe things about themselves that are not true. One must retain one’s own identity to remain an effective member of a group; to add anything new and innovative to the group one must preserve perspective. symbols, by their very presence, affect emotions in a mostly positive way and promote a feeling of community that we sorely miss in these times. A symbol, thoughtfully recognized and not abused, is a powerful tool for groups to have, not for individuals to cling to. Do you respect and get moved by the symbols in your life?