What is the Meaning of Integrity?
It both shocked and disgusted me that integrity definition was lost on celebrities and other wealthy parents who funneled millions through an Orange County, California nonprofit foundation in return for fraudulent entrance test scores and college admissions. This was facilitated by corrupt coaches and athletic department administrators.
Five or six-figure payments from wealthy parents would place kids into top colleges they otherwise wouldn’t qualify for. Some, applying as an athlete, didn’t even play the sport and large sums were made to bump up SAT and ACT scores. How does this really prepare a child for facing life’s tough times that are sure to occur? Would one of those parents or administrators want to be operated on a graduate who had cheated on entrance exams to medical school? I would dare say a resounding NO! By doing so, we become enablers and bring down standards of excellence.
Learning Tough Lessons
I have watched a couple of our sons learn some tough lessons. One, who struggled with math and memorization, got through EMT medical training by constantly studying a huge stack of index cards. He might have even slept with those cards! Because of the skills he developed and mastery of the subject, many are now confident in his abilities as he’s been promoted to a fireman and now engineer, giving life-giving aid in some very precarious situations.
It’s not only the fact that kids are not developing the character that struggling and working hard brings, but basic trust is broken with some of our major educational institutions. In my book, a good name is worth gold. Very successful coaches took bribes and donations to accept students into their programs. What does that now say of their program and was it really worth it in the long run? It brings down the value of both the coach and the institution.
Trust is a major issue in our society. (Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey) If we can’t lead by example and teach our children, (our most valuable resource!), to lead trustworthy lives with integrity and a good name, we have lost much of the battle. We become a free-for-all where cheating and bribing are acceptable to get what is wanted.
When I see situations like the educational bribery that just occurred in our society, I realize we live in a world where much of trust and integrity is broken and abused. I have a close circle of trusted friends and colleagues that I know I can be honest with and I know they won’t talk behind my back or cheat for dishonest gain. I’m confident of their support and prayers that produces a genuine peace of mind.
It seems in this recent corruption case, where a few Hollywood actresses were involved among 50 people indicted, at least the media is reporting the situation with a realistic look at the details. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if their hands were merely slapped and they moved on as the next sensation takes front-page news. It makes you wonder about some of our seemingly stalwart educational institutions. What value are they really putting on providing quality education for students who have worked so hard to get in, yet their place was taken by a student with a bribe. Why work so hard to get good grades when you can’t get in to the school of choice because of a substantial donation by a wealthy parent?
Are Shortcuts Really Worth it?
I have a saying, It always comes back around. I refer to this in business as well as personal relationships when I see unfair advantages, many times without just cause. Here are three main principles in looking at an INTEGRITY DEFINITION.
INTEGRITY DEFINITION Principle One: Honesty and Strong Moral Principles bring peace of mind. Many live under the weight of guilt from past or present compromises. It’s hard to put a pricetag on peace of mind.
INTEGRITY DEFINITION Principle Two: Self-centered acts bring down the value of programs and individuals. Self-serving acts don’t serve to add integrity and value to the quality of an organization or the individuals involved, whether a member, student or leader.
INTEGRITY DEFINITION Principle Three: It always comes back around. My mother always said I’d be found out if I lied, though I questioned this principle at times in the short-run. What isn’t always revealed in the short-run usually surfaces in the long-run. How many instances of fraud, compromised relationships or money laundering come to light years after the fact? Light seems to shine brightest in areas that feel dark and hidden.
I do not wish to sound judgmental, but fair. Of course, there are advantages money brings to attend certain educational institutions, but it should be paired with honest scores, ability and integrity. Colleagues and graduates with those qualities are those I prefer to work with mentor and associate with.