ink for thought: 12.09

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

on integrity

"One of the truest tests of integrity is its

blunt refusal to be compromised"

~ Chinua Achebe

integrity. it's an unpopular concept at the best of times. the thought that who we are all the time is an integral part of everything we do all the time seems to strike an uncomfortable nerve. given the nature of the subject matter it touches on every person you and I know and a few highly publicized names will, without a doubt, come to mind.

with that said, and though it may be hard to believe, I'm not writing with a certain pro golfer (how is that even a sport?) in mind. I'm thinking of teachers.

these wardens of the future, these gate keepers of knowledge, these sherpas along the treacherous road to enlightenment surely they, of all people, should be held to a level of integrity.

the educator in question shares tales of books bought, photocopied then returned to the bookstore with glee and pride. as though, somehow, defrauding an institution for personal gain is to be applauded. really? though, we would hope, this is not what will be taught in classrooms, what ethics can such a person impart? how just will this person be to our youngsters when opportunistic dishonesty is held in high regard?

now, I've been a student and it isn't easy. I've bought books that cost more than I care to admit. I've spent more time in libraries than can possibly do my street cred any good. but this isn't sour grapes. no, this is me honestly asking, when one child takes advantage of the others good nature, when the cunning one pulls the wool over the kind ones eyes, will this teacher do the right thing? better yet, will this teacher know a wrong thing has been done?

as I search myself for personal application it's clear that there are areas where work is needed, some more urgent than others but all important. and by the same token, I'm throwing it out to you as a wider audience. do we do as we say, and if so, is it something we'd be happy for others to follow?

"It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity"

~ Sir Francis Bacon