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Integrity...

This is a value that is a big deal in our household. I guess if there is ANYTHING I want my children to learn, to have in spades, it's integrity. Personal integrity is paramount I think for living a fulfilled life...

Wikipedia (that solid font of wisdom, rofl), describes the ethical stance on integrity as follows:

Integrity is the concept of basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles.
Depth of principles and adherence of each level to the next are key factors. One
is said to have integrity to the extent that everything one does is derived from
the same core set of values.
While those values may change, their consistency with each other and with the
one's actions
determine the degree of integrity.
integrity can be expressed as personal honesty: acting
according to one's beliefs and values at all times.
The term can emphasize the "wholeness" or "intactness" of a moral stance or
attitude (harking back wittingly or unwittingly to the etymological parallels of
the word in the Latin intactus, meaning
"untouched"). Relevant views of wholeness may also emphasize commitment and sincerity. Structural integrity
in engineering
is derived from this concept.
Integrity can be seen as a virtue in that accountability and moral
responsibility
are necessary tools for maintaining consistency between one's
actions and one's principles, methods and measures, especially when an expected
result appears incongruent with observed outcome.



To me, if the boys can form a strong structure of personal values and ethics - in the positive sense, not the negative - then they have a good chance at being happy people. Happiness, to me, is success, but only if it doesn't come at the cost of other people's happiness... Somewhat like the hypocratic oath, and the witch's creed, "First do no harm" or "Do as you will, but harm none".

Personal integrity needs a solid base of maturity - I was in my late 20s when I finally realised that in order to have integrity I also had to have awareness of other people, because my actions and words always impacted on others. This was not at all the same as bowing myself to others and forgoing my own needs, but that in fulfilling my own needs I also needed to be aware of the needs of other people.

Integrity is not easy.

I see a lot of lose integrity in the act of rewriting history, because the history that was is painful or embarrassing to them, but in doing so, not only do they try to fool themselves into believing that what happened didn't really happen the way it did, but in doing so they potentially make liars of other people, and may also set unrealistic standards for others...

For example, when I had Luey, I had an induction that I DEMANDED. The clinic OB was against the idea. He told me point blank that it was unnecessary to induce my baby at 39 weeks, even if he was bigger than "the average", and he added that the hospital only wanted what was best for my baby. These days, that is an inconvenient truth for me. I could so easily tell people the hospital bullied me into the induction at 40 weeks and 4 days, and I would get so much sympathy and support. I knew better, I knew my baby would come in his own time, but I was afraid, and I went with my fear. For the sake of personal integrity, I HAVE to be hoenst about this. I hope that being honest allows other women to speak about their own fears, for example.

I once knew a woman who wanted a third baby - this was several years ago - she told her close friends how badly she wanted this baby, and one day we were all in chat and she was telling us all about how she was going to seduce her husband, knowing he was never too concerned about contraception. A couple of weeks later, she announced her brand new pregnancy as an "Ooops" pregnancy, and then had the balls to actually accuse her partner of "refusing" to wear a condom. She was embarrassed at being pregnant again, even though she really wanted to be pregnant. There were quite a few of us who clearly remembered her telling us she was going to seduce him for the purposes of getting pregnant right on ovulation, and yet, she persisted with her "oops" story to US... It was frustrating. We were all too polite to call her on it, and really what would that have resolved anyway... She needed to rewrite history in order for it to sit well with her image of herself as a passive victim in the drama that continued to be her life for quite some time afterward.

You might think this kind of rewriting of history was fairly harmless, but what ended up happening was that her friends started to question their ability to trust what she said and did. If she felt the need to rewrite this bit of history, what else had she rewritten??? Eventually, she all the friends she'd had at that time, and at least one of those friends felt justified in playing part in the demise of this woman's relationship because she felt sorry for the woman's partner, who had been manipulated... It was very sad...

Karma bites back, I guess...

So, this is my very long winded way of saying that if there is one thing I really want my children to learn in this lifetime, it's to have personal integrity, to be honest with themselves about the things they value in life, and to be honest with other people about these values as well. People without personal integrity - from what I've witnessed in the past few years are basically very unhappy people.

What prompted me to write about this was something that happened at the boys' birthday party on Sunday. Each boy (Erik and Luey, that is) were made Captain of their own team in the dodgeball and soccer games... Now, even I would have expected them to be quite competitive about this, as they are quite competitve with one another as brothers, and so I was very pleasantly surprised when Dave told me that in picking their teams out of the children invited to the party, BOTH boys were careful to make sure they picked the smaller and austencibly "weaker" kids in the group. Each did this without any prompting, either from Dave or one another. To me, this is the first big sign of the fact they are developing personal integrity. They weren't only thinking "Who should I chose to help me win the games", but they were showing a real concern for making sure everyone felt included and valued, big or small, athletically inclined or not!

I'm so proud of my boys!!!

Comments

Kebeni said…
ce knew a woman who wanted a third baby - this was several years ago - she told her close friends how badly she wanted this baby, and one day we were all in chat and she was telling us all about how she was going to seduce her husband, knowing he was never too concerned about contraception. A couple of weeks later, she announced her brand new pregnancy as an "Ooops" pregnancy, and then had the balls to actually accuse her partner of "refusing" to wear a condom. She was embarrassed at being pregnant again, even though she really wanted to be pregnant. There were quite a few of us who clearly remembered her telling us she was going to seduce him for the purposes of getting pregnant right on ovulation, and yet, she persisted with her "oops" story to US... It was frustrating. We were all too polite to call her on it, and really what would that have resolved anyway... She needed to rewrite history in order for it to sit well with her image of herself as a passive victim in the drama that continued to be her life for quite some time afterward.

and she would be so happy to read that you have blogged this. How do you know she doesn't read your blog?
Sif said…
Would she even know it was her? I really don't mind if she reads it, I've, in no way, identified her.

Why? Is it you? :) Who are you???

This is merely a cautionary tale...
Sif said…
Rofl, never mind, just figured it out... Feel free to pass the link on if you feel she needs to read it...
Kebeni said…
I don't think she NEEDS to read it and that is why I commented in the first place. Just think that seeing as it is the WWW we should take care when posting about other people IRL. It is unlikely she visits your blog and I certainly won't send a link as I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings.
Sif said…
I'm not entirely sure why you unlurked to make such a big deal of this... It was just a story, from real life, that illustrated the kind of thing I was referring to. It was probably one of the more extreme cases of this that I've encounter which is why it came to mind, but seriously who - besides you - is going to know who I'm talking about... And if you hadn't said anything (but obviously you were trying to make a point) then no one would take any notice of the anecdote and would just read what I was actually talking about - that is, how having integrity leads to a happier life...

It's no drama, unless you make it a drama, I guess this is why I felt ok about telling the tale, I thought I now lived in a drama free zone... Just goes to show, LOL, you never know who might be lurking on your blog, hehehe, or how bored they might be on any particular given day...
Well I was pretty bored for awhile, but loved your piece!

I have a rewriter of hiistory in my family and it is quite difficult to cope with.

But yay to your big boys choosing their teams in so mature and compassionate a way.

Bless them and you, their mammy!
Kebeni said…
I read your blog Sif because I enjoy the majority of stuff you write. And as surprising as this may be I actually relate to much of it!
I didn't 'delurk' to be vindictive or to stir up 'drama'. I figured that if I identified the person you wrote about then there was a pretty good chance that others (who knew) will too and perhaps someone may send it onto the person. I didn't want this to happen as I am sure she would find it upsetting (regardless of whether you feel it is true or not) and I figured you would not want to upset anyone needlessly. Obviously I was wrong and I apologise if you feel I did this to intentionally cause a so called drama. Just don't like to see people upset and hurt.
Sif said…
Look, I think people who rewrite history COUNT on no-one ever calling them on it. It's not my problem that someone sees fit to rewrite history, and so I don't feel obliged to "cover" for them.

I wasn't at all concerned about hurting anyone's feelings because if the person I happened to be talking about read this blog and recognised the anecdote to be about them and they would know my account/perspective of the story to be right, or they would believe I must be talking about someone else, because I obviously wasn't describing their experiences at all...

So, basically, that leaves just you thinking you know who this is about and either disputing my account of details (which you haven't yet), or telling me that even though this is what happened, it's not nice to mention it...

If anything, I might regret not calling this person on her rewritten history the moment she started rewriting it... The truth can be hard to face, but it makes us stronger, to say, "Hey, sure you might not approve of what I did but my life isn't for you to approve of"...
Amanda O. said…
Well I have no idea who the person in the story mentioned is but I totally agree with every word that was written about the importance of personal integrity.

The fact the person in the story (or someone who the story could be written about, since I've no way of knowing if the person Sif knew and Kebani's friend are the same) would feel badly in what I'm guessing is some years after the event shows how long not acting with integrity can raise it's head. Whether or not anyone ever called her on her rewritten history, it's not as if she'd not have known it herself. The discomfort comes from the understanding what you did lacked integrity, not someone mentioning it. Even when I've acted in a way I later regreted - and we've all had moments we're not proud of - when you come to terms with it and own the action, someone mentioning it looses the power to bother you ime.
Clel said…
That's all very complicated, gladly I have NFI what or who you are referring to.

But SIf, I've missed your blog while I've been offline and glad to read it again. That was a lovely story about the boys, I think we know in those quiet moments that we have done good. Glad you got to hear about it from Dave, and that you had a great birthday party for E & L :)

Ah, but my question for you - what of the integrity of the people who chose not to call the woman on her 'rewriting of history'? What would have been the cost? Maybe hurting the woman? But maybe calling her bluff may have helped her come to terms with her desire for another child overriding her desire for an honest marital relationship? Maybe leading to her speaking honestly with her husband, and growing closer to him because of it? Hmmmm. Sometimes I think politeness in the name of keeping the peace (and keeping people happy) can rob them of an opportunity for insight and growth. Do you wish you had spoken out? I often do (wish, not speak out).

Nice to see you around, hope your pregnancy is going really well :)

ps. hi Amanda!
Sif said…
Hi guys, sorry, only just got the email notifications of these latest comments (can't check email with great regularity on Dave's crappy computer, rofl)...

Yes, that is a good question, Clel. I mentioned earlier that I only regret that I didn't call this woman on the rewritten history at the time. I've been thinking a lot about all this stuff lately - not specifically that situation, just integrity in general and why it's so important to me, and how I model it for the boys, etc...

The thing I've come to the conclusion of, is that it's a journey, like everything else, and it takes a lot energy to be willing to "go there", to confront someone. So, I guess it comes down to personal resources, and measuring up what seems "worth the energy" at the time.

Back in those days, in that particular situation, I didn't have a lot of personal wherewithal. I was very poorly resourced, and so I felt I had too much to lose if people became uncomfortable with me saying the emporer had no clothes...

These days, I kind of feel more is at stake, for me personally, to stand by and pretend I see clothes on the emporer (am I spelling emporer correctly, that doesn't look right)...

Like now, if someone tried to tell me things were different to what I saw or heard myself in the past, I would probably want to clarify, because to just go along with it would mean having to accept all the lies that then needed to be spun to cover the original halftruth...

Yk the saying, "What a wicked web we weave, when we endeavour to decieve"... Even though I might not be the person initiating the deception, I can not, with clear conscience - these days - sit by idly while someone extracts sympathy and support for a situation that is of their conscious making, but that they are to embarrass to admit to for whatever reason...

Some might say my blog on integrity lacked integrity, LOL. At first glance, I can see why this misconception might occur... It seems like I might be telling tales out of school, or moralising. Honestly, I think, only people with some deception to protect would feel this way. A clear conscience would see that I was, in fact, rejoicing in my children's first concrete signs of integrity and everything else was part of the illustration, or contract of what I was rejoicing in...

I have nothing to hide, and say nothing on this blog that I wouldn't be happy seeing published, in context, on the front page of a national newspaper.

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