Having integrity means to be honest, sincere, and to conduct oneself according to what is right and what is wrong. When students can recognize integrity in themselves and others, they are able to develop a feeling of security and self-assurance. By participating in activities that focus on individual strengths, tolerance, and trust-building, students can appreciate the power of conducting themselves with integrity.
Before children can have integrity they need to be taught the importance of being honest. Honest people are trusted by others. Also, an honest person cares about what’s right and wrong. Rights and wrongs need to be modeled, discussed, and explained. Below are suggested activities that can assist parents in teaching integrity to their children:
Read the definitions of integrity in bold type below and discuss these ideals as a family. Ask brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles what they think integrity means. You might ask each person “In your opinion, who in our family (neighborhood, town, etc.) has integrity? Why do you think this is true?” Students will see that integrity is an admirable characteristic. (Note: the point of this activity is not to judge, but to get started thinking and talking about integrity)
- Discuss a situation in which you were lied to and how that affected you. Ask your child to describe the situation in which he/she was lied to. Help them to recognize that lies not only hurt others, but keeps the person who told the lie from being trusted.
- When children feel good about themselves they tend to have improved behavior and to develop a sense of integrity. One way to help children feel more confident is to focus on their strengths. Take notice of honest, sincere, and good acts that your children do.
- Help your children to identify role models who can guide them in developing good values. Role models don’t have to be famous people, but regular people who are genuine and supportive towards others. Note specific examples that make these role models trustworthy. Discuss integrity as a family
- Role play situations that call for honesty and integrity. What if a friend invites you to his house to watch an R-rated movie, and you have promised your parents not to watch R-rated movies? What if a friend asks to copy your homework? What if some friends are teasing a new student and want you to join in? What would you say and do in these situations? Practice different responses. What feels right?
Integrity is one of those words that can be hard to define. If you look it up in a dictionary, you’re likely to find definitions like these: “Steadfast adherence to a strict code of values; the quality or state of being whole, entire, undiminished; completeness.” However, when you think about it, there is probably a simpler definition: Being yourself. All day, every day, regardless of who’s around. When you have integrity you’re honest with yourself and others. You match what you do to what you believe. You have confidence in yourself because you know yourself. Other people have confidence in you because they can depend on you to be consistent and constant.
Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.
Integrity means doing the right thing, even if it isn’t the easiest or most popular thing.
When our children develop integrity, they can approach each new situation calmly because they don’t have to struggle inside to decide how to act. Their integrity protects them from making poor choices. Integrity is the cornerstone of building good character.