What Is Integrity?

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog

It’s the beginning of a new month, and that means it’s time for a new Powerful Word!

Throughout June 2011, we’ll be working on the concept of “integrity.”

All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand what it means to be true to oneself, one’s values and principles, one’s word, and one’s standards and beliefs.

Powerful Words is the name of our character development curriculum here at Urban Martial Arts. It’s designed by one of the nation’s leading childhood development experts, Dr. Robyn Silverman. Every month, we’ll focus on a different Powerful Word, or concept around character development.

Here’s a video from Dr. Robyn Silverman in which she introduces some of the concepts we’ll be covering this month:

Many people mistakenly equate integrity with simply being honest. But integrity is so much more than that. Integrity is about being true to oneself, one’s values and principles, one’s word, and one’s standards and beliefs. It’s raw honesty in the deepest regard to oneself and others.

All our character traits must stand on a foundation of integrity. In fact, character and integrity are inextricably linked. Character reflects one’s set of values. Integrity is the grit to uphold them. They must work together to have meaning. After all, what good is gratitude when we are not really grateful? What good is concern when the concern is falsified? We want our children to build genuine character- that takes integrity.

Creating a strong foundation of integrity has big advantages as your child grows up to become part of the work force. According to several studies, integrity, along with honesty and humility can predict superior job performance. It’s so important that it’s been argued this year that such traits predict better job performance even more so than agreeableness and conscientiousness (Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, March 2011).

Beyond teaching our children not to lie, we also need to help children be authentic even when they want to appeal to others who think differently from them. This is when true conviction and integrity must kick in. How can they keep their goals and values in the forefront when peer pressure can be so powerful? How can they express their views without alienating others?

We’ll be talking about these kinds of dilemmas this month along with other integrity-based topics as we continue our mutual quest to inspire leaders with character.

Please continue to talk with your children about how integrity can be strengthened or challenged and how you stay true to yourself and others in your own life.

To give you more ideas for conversation topics, here’s a run-down of what we’ll be discussing over the next 4 weeks:

Week 1 – Integrity Defines: Right vs. wrong, truth vs. lies, and our strongest values.
Week 2 – Keeping Our Word: Making promises, breaking promises, and consequences.
Week 3 – Bring Our Authentic Selves: How to honor our choices even when not popular.
Week 4 – Leading with Integrity: Walking in other’s shoes & standing on our own feet.

There’s no better way to drive home the lessons we teach at Urban Martial Arts than by reinforcing them… well, at home!

We’d love to hear how your conversations go with your child so do share with us!

© Powerful Words Character Development 2011. All rights reserved.