For years, a stately cypress tree stood at the entrance of our town.

Two days ago, town officials had it chopped down after an arborist revealed that the tree had lost “its integrity.”

Although it still looked majestic — and many of us mourned its loss – the inside of the tree was riddled with rot and decay. City officials feared it was destined to hurt someone if it wasn’t brought down.

I find the use of the term “integrity” quite appropriate for another potentially majestic species — humans.

For no matter how great or majestic we appear on the outside, if we have no integrity, we are little more than empty monuments destined to hurt someone.

Our integrity defines our ability to be believed, our willingness to have and defend values based on truth and fairness. As with a healthy tree, if integrity is part of our root system and branches out to every aspect of our life, we will be strong. People will know they can count on us.

Including our children. Kids learn how to relate to others by watching us. The relationship between parents is extremely significant in a child’s life. Are we sneaky or evasive? Or do we bask in the comfort and intimacy afforded by truth?

By observing how we conduct ourselves in this important association our kids learn how much integrity matters and how to go about building significant relationships of their own.

There is safety in integrity. There is real strength. As long as we remember that, and model it for our kids in all our relationships, our children will have a chance to grow in the light of our integrity and become truly great adults.

March 1st, 2012 - Posted in Supplements | | Comments Off

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