Integrity is about being true to yourself, saying what you mean, doing what you know is right for you no matter what others are doing or saying. Integrity is about authenticity. But sometimes it is hard to be our authentic self, especially if we believe others are going to laugh at us or make fun of us if we are different than they are.
For kids, it may be the situation of a popular person picking on another person, and we have to decide if we are going to stick up for them like we have told ourselves we would do. It may be wearing the kind of clothes that we like and not going along with how others are dressing. Or it may be stopping ourselves from gossiping about another person when others are engaging in that activity.
It was Shakespeare who said, “To thine own self be true.” Such genuine and wise words. But how do we know what our truth is, how do we know who we are? It takes time and reflection. If we are a parent or an adult, taking the time to choose who we want to be and how we want to be in life is the first step that takes us away from just going from one reaction to another reaction.
- We can ask ourselves what we value the most in life?
- Are the activities I am involved in, the time that I spend on those activities match what I say or do?
- Am I chasing after material things while I say I value my family and kids?
To be true to ourselves is one great gift we can give our children. When they see us practicing kindness, service to others, peacefulness they know what is important to us by how we live each day. We are also influencing the child to take on our value system versus being molded by the media and peers.
When we name the virtues that we use to live by, make choices and decisions for the family based on those virtues we are creating a culture that is the uniting foundation for our family. Our children appreciate our strength and commitment to what we value. In time they will be able to express what they value the most, and it may not be the same as yours the parents, but you will see the influence you have on them with your values.
In my family, I have watched my son and daughter as they have gotten older reflect the virtues that were valuable to us as a family, while also being their unique selves. It has been beautiful to watch them become their best selves. By having the integrity to our values and virtues, we are authentic to ourselves. Authenticity brings a peaceful feeling to our family and life.
Want to learn how you can get your children to see what is important in life? See my video “Are your children learning to value what is important” at http://bit.ly/JustRightParenting