Integrity, defined by Webster is, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” Integrity is born in every person’s mind and heart. It is also a mind-set you needed to continue to develop. Integrity demonstrates who you really and what you really believe about right and wrong, good and evil. Integrity is seen not in just one act of goodness, but in your entire character.
So, how do we as parents teach integrity to our children? First, you must ask yourself if you are actually modeling a life of integrity that your children can follow. Integrity is taught by what we say, how we say it, what we do and how we do it. Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods.
What We Say: My father always told me that my word is my bond. All he meant was when you speak with people they need to be able to trust that you will be true to your word. When you understand and demonstrate this concept, you will find that you’ll be much more likely to speak truth and follow through with what you’ve said and people will trust your words. In other words, (no pun intended) make sure that your “yes” mean yes and your “no” mean no.
How We Say It: If occasionally you find yourself speaking to your children in a sarcastic or condescending tone of voice, stop it. Patience is indeed a virtue and it can be hard sometimes to maintain. However as parents we need to be mindful of our tones and attitudes. You have to replace this attitude with a patient demeanor. Holding on to your integrity by honoring your family in the way you talk to them on a daily basis strengthens your integrity and becomes a great example of what integrity sounds like.
What We Do: This one is probably the most obvious, and is the most important way to teach your kids integrity. You have to lead by example. If you tell your kids that smoking is bad for them and that they shouldn’t smoke, yet you smoke everyday…what do you think the message is that you are conveying to the kids? Kids often imitate what we do more so that what we say. Start being a model for your kids and live a life of integrity that they can follow.
How We Do It: We were washing cars at a car wash for charity when this lady pulled up and asked to have her car washed. She paid the $5 for her car wash, but when putting her wallet in her purse she dropped a 20 dollar bill. My son picked it up and instantly returned to the lady. That’s integrity in action. When you teach kids to do their best in everything with excellence, even when no one is watching, integrity will show up.
Integrity includes the important trait of honesty, keeping one’s word and being dependable. Integrity is a quality that becomes a way in which you are known as a person. An individual with integrity is someone who can be trusted always, whose word is never questioned, and who is known as someone with a high code of moral conduct. Even children who display integrity are known for having this quality, and children who don’t show this quality find it difficult to convince anyone to trust them. When your child becomes an adult, he (or she) will find integrity to be a key value that will unlock doors in the business sector and in his personal life, as people treasure this quality that he holds. A way that you can show your child how to live with integrity is to live with integrity yourself. Keep your promises, and do what you say you will do. Be honest, and never make your child feel that they need to doubt what you have told them.
Beverly Jones-Durr is founder of Every Child Has a Story which is home to The Writer’s Vibe and Speech Crafters Club – “The Only Public Speaking Club for Kids and Teens in Alabama!” Beverly empowers young people to command their voice, feelings, ideals, energy and intellect and use all of that to boost their communication skills. Speech Crafters Club is a safe place for members age 8 and up to explore creativity and enhance their communication skills all while enhancing self-esteem and confidence. The Writer’s Vibe empowers kids to use words to write stories only they can write and become stellar wordsmiths whose talents will no doubt someday change the world. The Writers Vibe program launches in 2017. Check us out and prepare to be amazed! You can also follow Beverly 0n Twitter, FaceBook and Pinterest