Life Skills: Integrity – Standing Up For What Is Right

word of month character
Teaching character and life skills to students

Integrity calls for doing what is right even when it is very hard or when there may be results that do not favor yourself.  The link below is about a girl that spoke up when it was difficult, because it was the right thing to do, and the results helped her classmate, but led to her being bullied.  Here is an excerpt from the story.

He’s a seventh-grader at Tripp Middle School in Turner, active in sports and school plays, friends would say a nice guy. And nearly every day classmates called him “fag,” “faggot” and “queer.” Nearly every day someone punched him, at least one time in the crotch. Nearly every day he was ridiculed, harassed, bullied.

Amanda Fields had never seen anything like it in all of her 13 years.
“Random people. People he doesn’t even talk to would come up to him and say, ‘Hey, fag’ or just kind of use very not good language,” the eighth-grader said.

The boy is a friend of hers. For months she watched his torment and feared for his safety. She worried he’d hurt himself if the harassment got too much.  Then, one day this spring, she and a small group of friends told a guidance counselor about all of it. The bullies — more than five, Amanda believes, and less than 15 — were suspended.
Citing student privacy concerns, school administrators refused to talk about the situation or confirm the suspensions. The boy and his parents declined to speak publicly. Other Tripp Middle School students wrote about the incident online, but would not talk about it to the newspaper.

But Amanda would. She agreed to tell the story that started out as the boy’s and has rapidly become her own.  Because since she and her friends told the guidance counselor, Amanda’s gotten bullied, too.

To read the whole story go to:  Standing Up: One Girl, One Friend, Many Bullies

Now I share this story because there will come times when we need that kind of courage.  Each of us can ask ourselves if we have that kind of courage.  Do I have the integrity for the principles, values, ethics, and morals that I stand for, that would make me stand up for what is right, just like Amanda?

Being a good friend is partly about standing up to peer pressure and for what is right.

“If you have integrity nothing else matters, if you don’t have integrity nothing else matters.”  Alan Simpson

Citizenship and following rules

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What is it that makes us a good citizen? it is not just about our intentions or where our heart is. It is about our actions – what we do, for and with the community that we are a part of. Our communities include our family, school, extracurricular activities, our neighborhood, and yes the world.

As a part of a group we need to follow the rules. Most of the time these rules have been set up so as to provide protection and safety for all the community. Most times the rules make things fair for everyone also.

In the family at home we have rules like cleaning up our own messes or toys, not hitting, respecting the privacy of others. In school we have rules like raising our hand to answer, waiting our turn in lines, and showing respect for the teacher. In our community we agree to follow the traffic laws, not littering, not stealing or hurting our neighbors. In the world we are beginning to understand more and more that everything we do and consume has an impact on others in different parts of the world.

When we follow the rules, we make things fair for others too. It simply is not fair if one person does all the picking up and cleaning. As a good citizen we would share those responsibilities, even if we are a young child. As we teach our children about those responsibilities as a citizen we are also teaching them about fairness and helping others. Good citizens follow rules. Just think what our world would look like if everyone followed the rules and pursued peace by being good citizens.