Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Man of Integrity

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, five-star general in the United States Army, and supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II has commented thusly: "The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office."
Integrity is defined as the quality of possessing -- and steadfastly adhering -- to high moral principles or professional standards. The mark of a man of integrity would be a man who consistently lives out high moral principles, even when no one is looking.

It has been my ongoing goal to be a man of integrity, but I have found it increasingly difficult, as I am pressured to retreat from some values in the name of conformity.

For example, I try to obey the laws of the land, even those that govern how I operate a motor vehicle. Doing this, however, can be a mixed bag. Thus, when I am driving 60 mph in a 60-mph speed zone, I often become the recipient of moans, groans and comic pleadings from the back seat to step on it and go faster. Most often I hear, "Dad, everyone else is passing you. I can't believe you let yourself get passed by a mini-van. I just hope no one sees me in here."

Internally, I wrestle with the integrity issue. Do I maintain my values as a law-abiding citizen? Do I capitulate in order to save face in front of my children?

I struggle with the whole honesty issue too. Frequently, I hear of sports legends, Hollywood celebs, politicians and business leaders who are seemingly rewarded for their less-than-honorable actions. And this goes on while others choose the high road, making the tough decision to forego dishonest gain. Too often those that abide by the rules are overtaken by those who have figured out how to fold, bend and even break them.

Still, when it comes down to it, I'll continue striving to live a life of integrity, as best I can. I will stop at stop signs, keep my eye on the speed limit, and even give myself a penalty stroke when I play golf.

Even when nobody is watching.

Now that's the kind of courage even a guy like Ike would like.

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