The following is part six of an eight-part series based on the U.S. Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The reader should discover that these tenets carry over to all facets of life and are not limited to military service.
For most people doing the right thing and being someone who can be relied upon comes naturally. Like it or not, we all have an inborn sense of right and wrong; a moral compass if you will. Do we sometimes stray from the course laid out for us? Of course we do. It’s the individual who can recognize that they are off track and can get themselves re-centered that has integrity. Living by moral and ethical standards can be challenging at times, but a person of integrity will – more often than not – choose rightly. Not for the betterment of themselves, but for the greater good of others. To illustrate this, a situation where a person who got too much change back from a cashier and instead of just keeping it, they returned it would demonstrate integrity. Sometimes even the smallest gesture can greatly show one’s character.
Resilience is another attribute of someone with integrity. Overcoming life’s obstacles is just part of the human condition, but sometimes the obstacles seem too great and our hearts too weak to push forward. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” If we all had a personal motivator like coach Lombardi how great that would be, but sometimes we have to motivate ourselves and pick ourselves up and get moving. If someone loses their job, is it a devastating blow that cannot be rectified or is it an opportunity to try something different and more fulfilling? Obviously, someone with integrity would naturally gravitate towards the latter and not the former in this sense.
Dependability. We all need it, deserve it, and expect it from the most trivial to the most dire situations in life. To be someone who can be counted on – day after day after day, no matter what – is a person with integrity. These are the people who can be relied upon and who can keep their promises and can even keep a secret if necessary. In the workplace not much work can get done if team members cannot depend on each other to accomplish the task at hand. Sometimes these jobs are not easy or even very rewarding, but to buckle down and get it done takes integrity. It sits at the core of team cohesiveness. Without it you have nothing; with it anything can be accomplished.
Taking responsibility for one’s actions is something that we all most likely would like to see more of. The only thing is that you have to be able to admit your mistakes and some of us have real trouble doing that. Shifting the blame, obscuring the facts and downright lying are unfortunately some of the main means of operation for several of our politicians, but down on the local level we expect better. We don’t always get it, but we desire it, nonetheless. Living a life of integrity will always put you in a place of accountability for every time we have successes and even failures. More often than not it’s through the failures that we can learn and grow the most.
When asked the esoteric question, “What do you stand for?” a person with integrity could respond with “Moral Ethics, Resilience, Dependability, and Accountability”. Always do the right thing, even if it’s hard. You’ll be glad you did.
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.