Monday, January 23, 2017

Integrity – Is It Still a Valid Value?



Cambridge English Dictionary defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles,” and “wholeness and unity.”

I value integrity highly in my life.  We teach our children to have integrity.  Growing up I was taught the importance of living an honest life and having a set of good values.  Both of my parents were involved in community and charitable organizations.  One of my grandfathers was in sales and firmly believed in honesty and portraying an image that exemplified his belief system.  He used to tell the story of dressing in his suit to call upon meat packers.  This would be driving to what might, in appearance, seem a seedy section of the city, enter a building where bins of entrails (refuse) were being moved around and butchering was in progress.  Some of his associates laughed at him for dressing up.  He believed that he was there to sell, so he should dress the part, not walk in like he was from the meat processing line.  While his associates laughed, he was the one that was successful at his trade.  He was a man of integrity.

What has happened to integrity and honesty?  When have these values no longer become popular?  How do we as parents promote positive behavior in an environment where “fake news” is a thing?  As a project manager, if I were to communicate “fake updates” to management, I am certain that management would have some large, serious looking person escort me, with a box that was packed for me, to the exit door.

We recently went through an election cycle.  Gab and Bec had the opportunity for the first time to be involved, voice their opinion and participate in the Presidential election.  As a parent, I was excited for them, as I remember my first similar experience.  Living in a home with positive values, allowed them to use their freedom of choice to vote for the candidate they thought would best fill the roll.  Truth is, sometimes my candidate wins, and sometimes they lose.  We taught the girls that it is all right to be upset when you lose, but not to be sore losers.  Some of our elected officials have been sore losers (i.e., protesting outside an elected officials home…when they are not there), some of our elected officials are KNOWINGLY BREAKING THE LAW (i.e., sanctuary cities), and some even ignore the items on their campaigns they were elected for.  Yes, we can teach our youth the lack of integrity, the lack of honesty; but how do we reconcile the re-election of these individuals?  How do they remain outside the law?

Let me be clear, my thoughts are not directed specifically to one party or the other; for these issues sometimes occur between different factions within the same political party.  The lack of integrity in politics has been in existence for a long time.  Seems that as of lately, it has become fashionable to explicitly wear the lack of integrity on our sleeves, promote not working together (an attitude of us versus them is not successful thinking) and completely ignore the rule of law.  I will happily be unfashionable this season, but glad to keep my integrity intact.