How to Sow the Seeds of Integrity in your Children

As a parent, we are responsible for teaching our children so many things. The most important is how to be a good person with integrity and care for your fellow man. I believe that responsibility transcends all religions and even speaks to those with no religion. You as a parent need to have your heart in the right place in order to sincerely teach your child. Webster’s dictionary defines integrity as the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity. It is hard to plant seeds of integrity if you do not live them.

Kids are like sponges and seem to soak up everything we do, both the good and the not so good. You cannot tell kids one thing and then live another. They are pretty smart and will pick up on that real quick. They will even let you know if they think you are being a hypocrite. One of the best ways to teach your child is by showing them. Find projects that you can do together as a family. Some of the best ideas come from some of the strangest sources. A comment by a stranger in the checkout line can make you aware of a family in need. Maybe they had a house fire and you can donate blanket. Maybe a story on the local news informs you about a project in the community that you can help with. Did the bank clerk give you too much money? You know that the extra money is not yours. Did you give it back? Did the cashier at the grocery store give you someone else’s groceries in with yours? Being honest and helpful in your own life can be a good example for your children.

Some of the projects we completed have really helped us to grow as individuals and as a family. We collected teddy bears for tsunami victims. We adopted kids at Christmas through the local food pantry. We sent shoe boxes to deployed soldiers for Christmas. We were able to encourage local children to make Valentine’s cards for soldiers. You do not have to do projects to teach your children integrity. Stop and pick up someone’s trash can that has blown out into the road. Give back the extra money to the bank clerk. Take the extra groceries back to the store.

Random acts of kindness and being honest in your dealings in life can go a long way. Treat people with respect. Value other people’s ideas even if they differ from your own. Be the best person you can be and it will inspire your children and help them to learn to be the best that they can be. Along the way, integrity will just become a part of their lives.