“Argh!! Each day so many despicable news items! It’s enough to make one stop in one’s tracks, when what is required is for us to push full steam ahead. ”
This is me, as I begin my daily task of writing. I check myself, check the news, and open my clean, new page. It’s hard to find the buoyancy of reality. Are these troubling stories reality? Or is America the heart and soul of freedom and equality I taught my students about for over 40 years?
And then I pour through my collection of inspirational thoughts. I breathe deeply. I stretch. I find a way to bring myself into equilibrium, if not peace. I find my footing and move forward.
I realize that one of my guiding principles has always been integrity. Words like “wholeness,” “solidarity,” “sincerity” form my definition of integrity. Live your values. For me, integrity not only means doing what you say, but living in the pain and suffering of not knowing, yet being committed to finding a way back. Embracing conflict as a path forward to deeper understanding, and finding honorable ways to rectify differences with respect.
As an educator, I adopted the idea of “institutional integrity” as a guiding principle for school leadership. I believe that schools and other organizations should embody the values they espouse in every aspect of existence. There is no good school if employees are under-supported and underpaid, or in which students are not invited to do their best.
There is no good government that does not demonstrate caring for its people.
There is no good family that does not demonstrate love.
There is no me if I am not in my own integrity.
So if I rise each day, and, if I am honest, I ask myself, “Am I living in integrity with my heart and soul?” .And then the next question, inevitably, is:
“So what will you do today? How will you honor the integrity of your heart and soul?”