I appear stuck on some tough topics this week. It’s a funny thing, today’s subject naturally flowed into the context of my last post, Peacemaker. In searching the meaning of the above word, I noted Webster’s College Dictionary’s description as: Integrity – “Uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Even though the word is much more, I like to think of it simply as honesty – if I tell someone I’ll meet them wherever, I don’t disappoint. When I promise someone I’ll bring them anything, no matter how stupid, I deliver (note: this is with the exception of forgetfulness due to senior moments). On the more complicated side, the word drums up images of trust, loyalty, respect, ethics, morality and truth. Watch an old movie, and the characters are closing a deal with a hand shake. That’s how people handled things back then, and for whatever reason I have noticed many people appear to have gone the long way around to avoid doing the right thing nowadays; as though they have forgotten the meaning of the word.
I don’t think it is that simple though. As parents and grandparents we want to teach and set examples for our children. We are usually always careful in the messages we send, because to teach one thing, yet do what we want is hypocritical, and that is also an impression we don’t want to create in the eyes of our youth. I’m certain we all know, they watch that as well.
I remember my first real lesson as a young mother. I had a Sesame Street album on for my daughter. Yeah, remember those? I specifically recall saying to myself – why do I have this on, she is to busy playing with something else. I don’t have any idea at this point what held her attention, but I decided to leave the record on regardless. About one week later she repeated something to me, specific of that recording; clear message to me, they are always listening, and watching.
Okay, getting back on track. At one point in my life I never gave a second thought to backing out of something or just saying no, simply because I didn’t want to be bothered at the time. I began realizing along the way, doing that may have probably hurt someone. Thinking about it now, I wouldn’t want that done to me. I don’t know about anyone else, but stupidity, many times, served as my middle name as a young woman. Yes, one does learn over time. Keep in mind, we don’t want to get caught up in the “can’t say no” thing – that’s an entirely different topic. What I’m talking about here is agreeing to do something, and then reneging.
And lastly, I have heard it argued that integrity is an internal trait, meaning only I know whether or not I have this quality. While this may be true to a degree, for the most part I think that’s malarkey. If around a person enough, how could one not know? I think all of that is left for some double-talking politician. A neighbor, co-worker, book club member, critique partner, whoever, will say – she/he has integrity issues or they don’t. Since this is as important to me as a good name, I think I’ll take the narrow “Honesty Highway,” thank you very much. Please, leave your thoughts.
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