EDITORIAL: Personal integrity is a lost art

Sex, money, status, respect and education are just a few of the things people don’t want to have to work for in this age of instant gratification.

Students who have no pride in their work, family, culture or abilities squeak by on what others give to them and sacrifice their self-respect and personal integrity.

Mahatma Gandhi, India’s inspiration and hope, said, “Become the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi was willing to die in order to make the lives of those around him better. That is honor. Let people like him inspire you to be the best person you can be.

We live in a world where students want good grades without learning anything. “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves,” said author James Allen.

When trading a grade for donating money, food or time to other non-educational activities, students degrade the value of education and tarnish their reputations.

Yes, grades are important, but in the long run, getting a grade without actually learning cheats the student out of gaining knowledge.

Knowledge is power, real power. It doesn’t need to be puffed up or exaggerated. It is a calm, peaceful thing that leads rather than forces one through life.

Telling the truth, being reliable, being accurate, being authentic, being realistic and standing up for what is right all are honorable actions to aspire to.

Sometimes having personal integrity means you will taste failure temporarily.

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Those who have power through inheritance, force or cheating their way into it cannot take real satisfaction in their actions because they often are mentally, socially, spiritually and emotionally bankrupt.

If that is a path you are on, remember country singer Dolly Parton’s timeless words, “If you don’t like the road you are walking, start paving another one.”

People can overcome their past choices to become healthier, happier, more peaceful individuals whose lives make the world better. Motivational speaker Stephen Covey said, “Live out your imagination, not your history.” Work toward your dreams and don’t be held back by the choices you made yesterday.

Personal integrity is something that people develop as their moral and ethical character evolves.

There are ways to develop your integrity that are simple and easy to do if you really want to improve your reputation and character.

First, you must decide that being a person with integrity is important to you. Start doing what is considered right or moral, especially when you want to do the wrong thing.

“Real integrity is doing the right thing,” Oprah Winfrey said, “knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” People judge you by the company you keep and the way you behave. Be honorable. “I am bound to live by the light that I have,” Abraham Lincoln said. “I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.“ If you choose your friends wisely, they can lift you up instead of bringing you down.

Coach Tom Krause, an international motivational speaker, said, ”We all have a choice. We all have a say. We are spectators in life or we get in and play. Whichever we choose – how we handle life’s game – the choices are ours; no one else is to blame.”

If you do not stand up or speak out, who will? “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousandfold in the future,” Alexander Solzehnitsyn said.

“When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, … we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

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