There's enough wrong in the world than to compound it with a bunch of unruly and disrespectful children. Sometimes it seems they're everywhere. But they're not all that way. Here's a glimpse of a few moments of integrity that I have seen lately, however.
The other day I saw my 7-year-old's school teacher in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. We got talking about my son, and she said, "Your son is one of the best students I've ever had." At which point I told her that we talk with our children about being respectful of their elders, particularly their teachers. "Thank you!" she said. I know that she doesn't receive this kind of respect from some of her other students, and I think this is a travesty.
My 10-year-old son ran for class president at school today. They don't know who won yet, but he was afraid that he wasn't going to win, because nearly every other candidate handed out some sort of candy, gum, or other treat as part of their campaign. "I wish I would have thought of that," he said. "I'm actually glad you didn't," I told him. I'm proud that he didn't, because bribing and winning would be worse than losing. I explained to him a couple of things--first of all that it is lacking in integrity to bribe someone to vote for us, and secondly that he shouldn't think badly of those who used bribery--because they probably didn't know better--especially if one of them wins.
Have you ever noticed that athletics are becoming more jaded by the fact that many people think it's a really good play if you do something that is breaking the rules and the referee doesn't catch you? This is wrong. So it's good to know that my kids don't act that way. Recently one of my kids was playing in a basketball game. A ball went out of bounds, and the referee signaled that the ball would be awarded to my son's team. My son, bashful though he is, had the courage to admit that in fact he had touched the ball on its way out of bounds. The referee was pleasantly surprised at his honesty as he gave the ball over to the other team.
Integrity is critical to a well-functioning society. Sometimes we need children to remind us.