This month we will focus on the character concept, “integrity.”
Integrity means “I mean what I say and I say what I mean!” It shows that we are true to ourselves, our values and our word. While it’s important to make the right choices, we also need to make these choices for the right reasons.
Having integrity is a foundational part of having strong character. In fact, character and integrity are inextricably linked. Character reflects a person’s values and integrity is the grit to uphold them. They must work together to have meaning. After all, what good is gratitude when we are not really grateful? What good is concern when the concern is falsified? We want our children to build genuine character- and that takes integrity.
We know that there is an important link between integrity and honesty. We also have learned that children often reflect what they see. According to a new study out of the University of California- San Diego, children who are lied to are more likely to cheat and then to lie to cover up the transgression (Developmental Science, March, 2014). While most parents admit to lying to their children, they admit feeling that these lies won’t have any impact on their children’s honesty.
As it turns out, even white lies can have unforeseen consequences. So, as we talk to children about telling the truth, it’s important that we evaluate our own dialogues with children as well as our children’s behavior around integrity.
Beyond teaching our children not to lie, we also need to help children be authentic even when they want to appeal to others who think differently from them. This is when true conviction and integrity must kick in. How can they keep
their goals and values in the forefront when peer pressure can be so powerful?
How can they express their views without alienating others?
We’ll be talking about these kinds of dilemmas along with other integrity-based topics as we continue our mutual quest to inspire leaders with character.
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