The Integrity Issue
If you interact with anyone without integrity, you will understand quickly that you cannot trust them. The boy lacking integrity will tell you one thing and do another. Then, even when caught in the act, they will lie or try to explain away what they have done. They will not be honest.
Could you work with an employee like this? Would this be a model boy to use as an example? I would say a resounding “No” in both cases.
What Are Integrity and Sincerity?
Integrity has several definitions. The first listed definition, the most commonly used, is critical to leadership. Integrity is adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. The last word of the definition, honesty, is also found in the word sincerity.
Sincerity’s definition is freedom from deceit, hypocrisy, or duplicity; probity [honesty] in intention or in communicating; earnestness. You have heard the old saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” I have found this to be true in life.
Standing Up For What Is Right.
We must teach our children to stand up for what is right rather than falling for what is wrong. They might lie to lessen punishment, keep a job position, or further themselves in any arena. And we, as models for our boys, need to own up to our own mistakes and cleanse our intentions by operating on the right principles.
Paul stood up for what was right. The Lord spoke to him and he told others the truth. His reward? Stoning, imprisonment, and finally death at the hands of non-believers. Paul operated from pure motives before he gave his life to Christ and afterwards.
- Oswald Sanders writes “Later he [Paul] wrote to the Corinthians, ‘We are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity…we speak in Christ in the sight of God’ (2 Corinthians 2:17). He did not shrink even from divine scrutiny (1 Corinthians 4:4).”
How Can I Train A Boy To Have Integrity and Sincerity?
There are several steps to transform a boy into a man with integrity or sincerity.
Don’t be offended, but I will use a few word pictures to describe those with integrity and those without. These are generalizations, not true of everybody in whole, but a lighter view of integrity in boys.
The Spineless Jellyfish or Sel-Fish.
Think of a boy without integrity as being a spineless jellyfish. The individual will lie, cheat or steal, and even tolerate those who do, if it gets him what he wants. The boy will grab on to anything that he thinks will help him gain pleasure, power, or wealth, regardless of the effects on others. He floats without purpose or pattern, letting the whim of the sea of life take him where it will. He has no strength. He’s a Sel-Fish (selfish).
Think of a boy with integrity as being a lion. Though not all personalities express themselves with loud roars and violent actions, boys with integrity will stand their ground. They will not back down on principles nor will they tolerate those that do.
Lions take care of their areas, marking them, patrolling them, and ensuring the pride (lion family group) within is free from threats. They have a purpose in life that includes others interests. Lions are strong beasts, well trained for battle.
And The Training Is…
Here are three lessons to train integrity.
1) Consequences (Discipline)
Ensure that the discipline for lying is worse than the consequences for any wrong decision your son will pursue. Bad decisions aren’t as significant as intentional dishonesty. Make sure your boy is aware of the consequences by posting them for major infractions on the refrigerator. Strictly enforce any discipline, but pay even closer attention to the correction of lying, deceit, or double-mindedness. Finally, reward right actions every time with great enthusiasm. Let them know you are proud of them!
In his book, Bringing Up Boys, James Dobson says, “For those moms and dads out there who expect their boys to discipline themselves, I can only say, ‘Lotsa luck.’ Self-discipline is a worthwhile goal, but it rarely develops on its own initiative.” (Pg 229)
2) Freedom of Speech
Give your son the freedom to tell you how they feel without taking offense, with the exception of using foul concepts, dirty talk, or disrespect. This allows a strong communication flow between parent and child, fostering honesty and clarity.
3) Distinguish Between Fact and Fiction
In this world of make-believe (TV, movies, videos, eBooks, audio-books, electronic games, etc.), we must keep our boys grounded in reality and their hope in Jesus Christ. For example: In most movies, if the hero gets shot, they recover by the end. In the real world, if you shoot someone with a gun, they will be scarred for life and may not recover. Have them watch the following video, “Captivated,” available from MediaTalk101 at the store tab. http://www.mediatalk101.org/ Then talk with them about the impact of today’s media world – what is real and what isn’t.
I’ll wrap-up this series on the Seven Essential Leadership Principles and provide a few final thoughts. The next series will be “Strong Wills, Strong Parents. Techniques to Lead the Strong Willed Child”