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The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. (Confucius)

In today’s society, many words that once had positive connotations now have negative connotations … religion, morals, Christian, conservative.

A word that has come up recently in our family is integrity. I think this word still has a positive meaning even in modern day society. It certainly is a desirable character trait, one I would like to instill in my children and see more of in the community.

A few weeks ago while my kids were attending their Tae Kwon Do lesson, Master Martinez noticed something she did not find pleasing. While she was walking around the room observing the kids, they performed much better and tried much harder when she was nearby and closely watching an individual student or small group. But as soon as she walked away, they let their bodies sag and they did not kick or punch with power. So she called them out. She said they needed to have integrity. She explained this means they should behave the same way, doing what is right and working their hardest, whether she was watching or not.

That night before bed, I talked to the kids about integrity. They remembered Master Martinez mentioned it in class. It resounded with them. They really paid attention while we discussed what it meant and why it was so important.

After the kids were tucked in, I continued to think about integrity. I realized it is a word and concept people are not averse to, unlike so many other things that used to be considered good that are now bad.

Integrity matters. Doing what is right even when no one is looking or paying attention is extremely important. This is something I think people can generally agree on regardless of religion, race, age, sexual preference, or any of those other things society has put at the forefront of discussion and importance.

I think most people would agree integrity matters. And this is good! Because we desperately need something we can agree on. If we can’t agree on politics or religion or the theory of evolution, it’s okay because we can agree on integrity. And if we can agree integrity matters, we have common ground. Common ground and a common goal can bring us together.

Now that we have established integrity is a good thing, let us strive to personally maintain a high level of integrity. Let us also teach our kids to have integrity. Let us teach our kids the importance of showing respect and being responsible and working hard all the time, not just when being watched or supervised. These are important life lessons that should not alienate anyone but rather include and incorporate everyone.

If we collectively take this step toward maintaining, cultivating, and inspiring integrity, this nation of bickering, finger-pointing citizens might finally agree on one thing and quite simply, get along.