One of the hardest concepts to teach children about integrity is having them understand the idea of being authentic and staying true to ourselves. Sure we say the old famous lines all the time. You know the ones I’m talking about. “If so and so jumped off a cliff would you?” or “Those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.” We say these things in an effort to teach our children to be independent thinkers, to do the right thing, to stand up for what they believe in, to help them feel good about themselves. But we sometimes forget that our children learn by what they see us doing, not from the words that come out of our mouths. If we want our children to be their own unique wonderful selves 100% of the time… then we need to do the same.
Are you being authentic and staying true to yourself? Sometimes we put on a mask, portray a different persona in order to fit in or be liked. It has somehow become an accepted practice in our culture. You might be one way with your family and totally different with your co-workers or boss. We may hide the way we feel about a certain subject in order to not be alienated, left out of a conversation, not part of the in-crowd. Yet we don’t understand when we see children doing the exact same thing at school or with their friends.
We frequently compare ourselves to others, and change the way we act, accordingly. We make assumptions based only on what we see. “She has no control over her child” we may think when we see a child melting down in the middle of the grocery store aisle without knowing the whole story. Comparing ourselves to another parent can make us feel worse or perhaps in the case of the lady with the child melting down … better; it just depends on the parent we choose to compare ourselves to. But if we want to live truly authentic lives of integrity, then the only person we should be comparing ourselves to and trying to be better than; is to the person we were yesterday.
With bullying being such a huge issue in our schools, it is so important that we give our children the right tools so they know what to do if ever faced in the situation. One of those tools is teaching our children that not only is it important to be accepting of ourselves for the unique and wonderful people they are; we must accept ourselves in the same way. To Thy Own Self Be True!