One day I walked the halls of my infamous school and I happen to run into a student. This particular student we will call Student A. Student A needs a little redirection from time to time, but a lot of love all of the time. He and I had just had a conversation a few days prior about believing in yourself and being your best at all times. We talked about how each day was a brand new opportunity of starting all over. He told me that he was ready to be a better version of himself and I smiled, then sent him on his way.
Well on this particular day as I walked the halls, I walked into a classroom. It had an adjoining classroom and a small window/door in between them. Student A was making facial gestures to have the students laugh. The moment he realized I saw him, he walked away. I went over to talk to him and he immediately said he was sorry. I told Student A, "it's not what you do in front of me or in presence of anybody else. It's what you do when you're alone. It's when you choose to do the right thing because you know it's the right thing to do. That's called integrity.
The formal definition of integrity is "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness". Does anyone you know immediately pop into your head? Who do you know at work that displays integrity? How do you teach kids to have it too?
Integrity is one of the fundamental values that we all seek in our colleagues. It is the attribute of a person who demonstrates profound moral and ethical principles at your workplace. When someone has integrity they reflect it day by day with everyone they meet. Those with integrity model honesty and trust. People with integrity tend to have positive relationships with others. People trust them and trust is an important variable in any positive relationship.
How can we teach kids to have integrity? Here are some quick ideas that pop into my head:
1. Create scenarios with children and discuss decision making and outcomes.
2. Present visuals or diagrams to children and have them look at different visuals where integrity might be lacking or visa versa. When working with the diagrams, you can help children go through the process of living with integrity, you can teach them how to problem solve with integrity.
3. Teach children how to empathize with others. They need to learn how to be able to put themselves in others places. They need to know that being honest and upright is not always easy.
"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not." - Oprah Winfrey
"It is true that integrity alone won't make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one." -Zig Ziglar
So whether you're at the grocery store or at work. Let your integrity shine through with everything you do- the way you speak to others, the way you treat others, and even the way you complete your day to day tasks.
I'm partial to the way we speak to others. "Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love." -Don MIguel Ruiz