Standing in my kitchen last night, I asked my son and daughter-in-law what I should blog about this week. Since their first child is due to arrive in about 10 weeks, I fully expected them to give me a topic related to newborns. The first thing my son said to me was “integrity.”
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for Children defines integrity as “total honesty and sincerity.” WOW! This is the way most children live. They are totally honest and sincere. It struck me that it is the adults who seem to slowly teach children how to lose their integrity as they age.
I remembered that not too long ago I had written about how to raise joyful children and recommended a great book for parents entitled Teaching Your Children Joy by Linda and Richard Eyre. However, I wasn’t sure that I would find such a valuable resource on how to “teach” integrity to young children.
Infecting Your Children with Integrity is a great article written by Alan E. Goodwin, a Christian psychologist. Even if you are not a Christian, Goodwin offers exceptional material about how to raise children who possess integrity. I love the title—integrity is an infection. If you live it out, your children will be infected. They will “catch” it. It is very difficult for you to raise “totally honest and sincere” children if you are not totally honest and sincere in the home.
Children notice if you do what you say you are going to do. They notice if you are honest in the smallest details. They will observe what you do much more than they will listen to what you say. As always, successful parenting is really about continually working on our own character to ensure that we are the best adults that we can be. Successful parenting is about being totally honest and sincere in all that we do. That means accepting that we are not perfect and admitting to our children when we make a mistake. Forgiveness, kindness, love, and communication are components to a great relationship, regardless of the age of the ones involved.
An honest and sincere person is a person of integrity. Let’s infect our children with integrity by “catching” it first.
Written by: Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.