Empowered and Unbounded
A student of mine has been engaging with my writing, and she asked me what I meant by integrity in a post from last week. While integrity is less a direct focus for me in my teaching than it used to be, it's still my foundation for living empowered and unbounded, especially in the classroom.
To me, integrity can be both a powerful access to fulfilling on my visions and goals as well as a daunting and boring topic that I'd rather ignore to talk about something else.
The exciting part: imagine having such a powerful level of integrity that the universe itself aligns around honoring your word. To say "I am well" and then to be well. To say "I am content, empowered, and unbounded" and then to feel it. To say "All people are at ease and in love with life" and to have it be so.
The first time I ever thought about the word integrity, I was about 12 or 13. We were at a school function, and an adult was wearing a jacket with "INTEGRITY" embroidered onto the back. Having observed how this person treated his own kid from time to time (as any of us can treat our own kids from time to time 🤦♂️), it occurred to me then that integrity was something you put on when you're out there in the world, but that how you acted behind closed, private doors wasn't as important.
Other than conversations about honesty and trustworthiness, I never came across any conversations specifically about integrity until my mid-20s when I took the 3-day Landmark Forum workshop. It was this workshop that introduced me to integrity as a powerful tool, and that workshop's perspective on integrity remains a strong influence on how I see integrity today.
Though I can talk about someone having integrity, I see integrity much more in our actions than as something we can have. A person has integrity when their actions have integrity. So integrity comes down to how we engage in the present moment, with our lives and the people and objects around us.
If a person has integrity, that person can be trusted to reliably act with honesty and courage in any situation. A person with integrity can be trusted that their words match the person's underlying values, commitments, and intentions. A person with integrity speaks words that honor who they are, then acts consistent with the words they've spoken to the best of their ability.
Integrity is a necessary condition to effectively align my actions with my goals, intentions, and passions.
Integrity is something that teachers so often poorly model for our students. It's not our fault, since most of us didn't get the best integrity lessons growing up either. But integrity offers us and our students the potential to positively impact our well-being and the well-being of others, so I think this is a worthy conversation in education.
In my next post, I'm going to offer three steps to becoming someone who has integrity.
Thanks for reading ❤️.
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