Teaching Integrity

I’ve been reading a book called Souls of Steel by Pat Williams. Pat Williams is currently a motivational speaker and sports executive, currently serving as a senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

His book is filled with stories of sports heroes, leaders and coaches who have reached their goals by maintaining a life of integrity and honesty.  Stories of coaches who choose to take the high road; stories of players who don’t take shortcuts and easy paths.

One constant in these stories is the role of parents in shaping these men and women into the adults they are today. They tell of moms and dads who modeled great work ethics both in their official jobs and in their responsibilities at home.

I was struck yesterday by a simple teaching about mistakes.  We all make mistakes. We all have moments in which we let our guard down and make a poor choice.  Pat Williams’ point that he teaches is that we have to be on guard not to make the “second mistake”. This is the mistake of trying to cover up our first mistake with denial, lies or cover-ups.  How can we teach children to own their mistakes, learn from them and move on?

I have two opportunities as a parent.

One – I have the knowledge that I am my children’s first and foremost model in living a life of integrity. I need to avoid gray areas in my life and talk with my kids loudly and often about how I make decisions when moments come up that I can cut a corner or receive something that I didn’t necessarily deserve.

Two – I can own up when I make a mistake, share what I learned and demonstrate how to make it right. Along those same lines, I can help my children learn that it always better to “fess up” and move on rather than hold on to a mistake and the guilt that can accompany it.

This is a tough and wonderful challenge.  May we step into 2018 as men and women of integrity!

This entry was posted in Family Life. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Recent reflections from our blog