When No One Else is Looking
Another grocery run, and of course, we’re running late with our crazy schedules. As I’m unloading the grocery cart into the car, I see a small packet of gum that I missed handing over to the cashier, and there it was, but I hadn’t paid for it. We were so late. My children looked at me, waiting to see what I would do. “Ok guys, back inside we go”. As my children moaned and proceeded to tell me how late we were, I sighed. “We have to go back. It’s not right to steal — not even a penny.” I wasn’t sure if I was convincing my children or myself. After all, I knew I could go back later, but I went back in for them.
Where and how do our children learn to do the right thing, make the right choices, and stay true to themselves? Firstly, we need to understand that ‘right’ means something different to different people.
However, that which is generally accepted as right, that’s what we’ll go on. Even without actively teaching our children, they learn from us simply because they copy us. Your kids are watching you all the time, and whether it’s your cooking methods, your mannerisms, your reactions to people, to life, to challenging situations, they are always watching. Living a life of integrity, doing the right thing, that’s what sticks to them.
Do you always place the trash in the trashcan, return the grocery cart after loading the car, greet and thank employees in a store? Are you doing the right thing when no one is looking? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely your child will do the same.
Integrity is not just about honesty or trustworthiness. Integrity involves every decision we make. It is about making the right choice for the right reason — not because of the praise we receive, but because it’s the right thing to do. It isn’t only about what we do in front of others; it’s about how we respond even when we’re alone when no one sees or knows.
Raising our children to become people of integrity won’t “just happen.” They won’t learn if we don’t intentionally model and teach them. Integrity is a life long journey. Let’s teach our children to believe in their inner power, and do the right thing, even when no one else is looking.