I’m beginning to wonder if “integrity” is a thing of the past.
Wikipedia says that integrity is: the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.
Frog In the Pot
The world “as we knew it,” seems to be changing at a very fast pace. And the concept of integrity seems to be in abeyance. When I look on a national basis, whether in politics, religious communities, the entertainment industry or in social media, I’m wondering if we are slowing acclimating to a lower bar and adopting the standards of behavior, norms for civility, expectations or definitions of what’s acceptable based on what we are witnessing.
Are we becoming the frog in the pot on the stove, not recognizing that the water is slowly warming and will soon come to a boil before we realize we need to wake up and change before we die?
Buildings, Bridges and Integrity
When I think about having integrity in our lives, I think about how a building or a bridge have to have integrity. The design and construction of these structures have to have integrity to be able to sustain the weight of several levels or to span the distance. The materials used contribute to the strength and durability of the integrity of the structure. And if the quality of workmanship is sub-par, then the integrity of the whole project is jeopardized.
Choices and Integrity – What Is The Cost? What Is The Payoff?
Choices are made at each step of the process that will determine if the building or bridge is safe or to cut corners and save time and money.
Which brings me back to: What is the price of integrity?
How would you describe the integrity of the structures in your life that support you? What structures do you have in place to support your family, your health and nutrition? Your mental, physical and spiritual well-being? Your financial structures for current and future needs?
What are you willing to pay and what are you willing to sacrifice for integrity in your life, your family, your communities, your schools, your government, your religious communities?
Children and Integrity – Have We Forgotten?
I recently saw the movie Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood. It was warm and inspiring. Sadly, it was also a reminder of how far we have drifted from Mr. Roger’ wisdom, compassion and insights… and sense of integrity. I miss Mr. Rogers. We need him now.
I’m wondering if parents still quaintly teach their children not to lie and tell the truth. Are they teaching and modelling some of the behaviors that Robert Fulghum wrote in All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten? Here are his words of wisdom that are worth remembering:
- Share everything.
- Play fair.
- Don’t hit people.
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Wash your hands before you eat.
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
- Take a nap every afternoon.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
So, I am asking you to LOOK! Look around you. Are you and your family, your schools and employer and community “playing fair and saying you’re sorry when you hurt someone?” Are you planting seeds and helping them grow?
LOOK! At whether you have integrity in your choices. Are your choices aligned with the life you want and the world that you want to live in? Are you making choices to save time or money that will erode the integrity of the structure of your life and family and community over time? Are your choices contributing to the world that will belong to your children and grandchildren?
What Does A Life Of Integrity Mean?
Living a life of integrity is not about sacrifice. Integrity makes you strong and whole and confident. Integrity is about being in alignment with the values that are near and dear to you.
Being in integrity is Freedom!
Integrity is about taking ownership for being contribution to others and your communities. Integrity not self-serving. It’s about forward thinking and using your power to make a difference for the good of the whole. It’s about being truly accountable for your choices and not being a victim to others’ opinions and their lack of integrity. There’s no blame. No excuses.
Integrity is power.
Will you join me in creating a world of integrity? One person, one choice at a time. Looking out for the good of the whole – watching for traffic, holding hands and sticking together for a better world based on truth and love and integrity.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Marty Stanley is a Certified Speaking Professional who strives (and sometimes struggles,) to live a life of integrity. She writes, speaks, coaches and consults on how to align personal and corporate values with making a difference in the world, one person and one organization at a time. firstname.lastname@example.org www.alteringoutcomes.com 816-695-5453