"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you." ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I love the word "integrity". I equate it with living authentically despite fear, regret, or resistance.  For me, integrity is the continual pursuit of being true to oneself and holding fast to personal principles with whatever obstacles or challenges that come. I have found that there is no inner peace without integrity, and an inconsistency is palpable, gnawing, and just plain irritating.

I would love to be able to "teach" integrity to my children. But, I believe teaching integrity is like trying to teach what romantic love is, you don't know it 'till you feel it. But feeling trustworthy, that is something even a young toddler can feel from his parents, and I believe it lays groundwork for integrity. I think many may feel that children just need to listen, act in an acceptable way, and do what they are told to "earn" trustworthiness. Well, to me, that's just obedience. A child that has integrity, knows they can do the right thing by their own volition, without punishment, without rewards.

Living authentically with kids is to trust them implicitly regardless of knowing that errors, mistakes, and mishaps will happen. Sounds difficult perhaps, but the more I trust them, the more they feel it, and they believe it in their heart that I trust them. It gets easier, and they gain confidence. As I loosen up my fears, they loosen up theirs. By knowing that they are trustworthy, regardless of their errors, children are free to be themselves, and thus the seeds of integrity are planted. It wasn't always this way in our home. Thank goodness it's never too late to start...

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“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw