How to Sow the Seeds of Integrity in your Children

“How to sow the seeds of integrity to your children”

According to some dictionaries, integrity has been simplified into plain honesty and trustworthiness. Unfortunately, the reality is, if we could simplify its definition to a simple act of chivalry, there would be a significant amount less war and corruption in the world. So we are faced with the question how do we sow the seeds of integrity to our children? There is a universal answer to this question for all cultures. It’s not a simple one-word answer, but rather process craftsmanship between a parent and a child. Imperative tools for laying the groundwork for integrity are constant and unconditional love, respect on both parts, and a meaningful purpose for life.

From the moment we have our children our view of the world changes. Unconditional love is not a demand all people can fulfill. However, if we’re going to prepare our children for the society, its one we must comply with. We can start by telling them all the time. Because the more children hear they’re loved, the more they’ll believe it. As parents, we have to acknowledge the good doings with the wrong doings. Children need to know disappointment doesn’t mean rejection or disregard. Parents should to be dependable, honest and understanding, even when it seems unfair to us. If my daughter is somewhere she’s not supposed to be, and feels unsafe, I don’t want her to have to second-guess her decision on calling me. I want her to know that even though I’m unhappy she disobeyed me, I still love her. Love has to be constant and unconditional to be felt. After all, parents make mistakes too, and we want our children to be just as understanding as we were with them, if not more.

Love is a crucial part of parenthood, but obviously not the only part. Respect is huge in a relationship between parents and children and required for integrity. Respect has to be communicated through acknowledging many differences, difference of expression, opinions and ideas. In the role of parents its important we create boundaries for respect. Nonetheless, we don’t want to disrespect our child’s individual space and personality with invisible fences that cant be crossed. We want to teach them tolerability and acceptability, but this can only be done by representing the same for them. On the other hand it’s just as important for parents to create this expectation of their children as well. Hailey will eventually be old enough to understand more of life’s obstacles. She will want to voice her opinions and she shouldn’t be held back from doing this, just because they differ from my own. As long as she can show consideration and appreciation for others’ differences, she can express her own, as should any child.

Aside from love and respect there is another fundamental seed of integrity, a meaningful purpose for life. It’s up to parents, to show their children that in life there is a purpose for all things, even themselves. Unfortunately, this seed really needs to be handled delicately. A parent has to create a structured environment with responsibilities, consistent discipline, an understanding of cause and effect, and an environment that makes their kids feel needed and wanted. Children need to know how to be responsible for not only physical aspects of life such as; work, chores or money, but for their decisions as well. It’s even more imperative, that parents provide consistent discipline through natural cause and effect, rather than punishments. Finally, children need to know they are not only needed by parents, but also wanted by their parents. It sounds unnecessary, but it’s important to reiterate this to children. Children should be included in big decisions about their life, such as a move, what college to go to, and what the family pet name should be. I grew up on a farm, and each member of the household held a distinct position. Each person had specific responsibilities that affected, not only us, but also sometimes people outside the home. We learned that, without following through with our responsibilities, life was more difficult than it needed to be for others.

So how do we sow the seeds of integrity to our children? As I said before, if it was a simple act of chivalry, the world would be a lot less complicated. However, it’s more like entire code of ethics.