One of the principles that Mom and Dad drilled into their kids was “always do the right thing.” It seems that as far back as I can remember, they worked to instill that in all six of us. “Even when it seems like it’s the last thing you want to do, do the right thing.”
I have to admit, there were times when I didn’t do that. More times than I want to admit, more times than I care to remember.
And yet, even with that admission, I can say that I have tried to live by that principle. Sometimes it cost me extra money. Sometimes it cost me opportunity. Sometimes it cost me popularity in a certain setting. Sometimes it made others angry for a while.
But it has worked to my benefit far more times. My neighbors know that they don’t have to worry about me swiping their stuff. My colleagues know that they can trust what I tell them. My friends know that I will keep my word, whether I swore to it or not. My family knows that I will admit my mistakes and work to make them right. That’s what a good raising will do for you.
Not only did Mom and Dad lecture us to do always do the right thing, they also demonstrated that concept. They were certainly not perfect but perfection in character and behavior was always their goal. It’s called “integrity” and Solomon was another admirer of the trait.
Though the legendary king recorded his observations nearly three thousand years ago, his words still ring true: “Better is a poor person who walks in integrity than a rich person who is crooked in their ways.” (Proverbs 28:6)
Through thick and thin, through lean and flush, that notion has guided me for about six decades. Even though it’s caused me a few bumps and bruises, it’s been worth the walk. Even when it leads me to resign from a high-paying job.
I think I’ll stay on that path a while longer.