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1. "I am a proud Mommy Blogger. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my blogging activities. I can lead by example." What does integrity mean to you?

Well, first let's get the official definition (courtesy Dictionary.com)

in·teg·ri·ty [in-teg-ri-tee]


–noun
1.  adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2.  the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3.  a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship's hull.

Well, number one should be fairly straightforward.  We can discuss integrity as it relates to ethics; such things as honesty, accuracy, and consistency of character.   Funny that it is a noun, when it specifically relates to how we act. 

As for number 2, a little research tells me that it is derived from the Latin adjective, integer, meaning 'whole', 'complete'.  Essentially, one's integrity is judged based to the extent that they live their life according to the very values, morals, principles, and beliefs they claim to hold.  Thus, it is the opposite of hypocrisy.

And finally, number three:  well, that's pretty simple too:  a ship with flaws.....she's a-goin down folks.

Now that we have the dictionary version, how does this specifically relate to myself as a wife and mother?  Since having children, this is always foremost in my thoughts:

Anyone who reads my blog, knows I am very fond of the saying, "What you feed, will grow."
If you foster an environment of criticism, negativity, or abuse either through your home life, your work environment, or the virtual realm: words can cause damage like acid.  But you know the thing about acid, right?  Sometimes it can do as much damage to the container it is stored in, as that upon which it is pored.  What are you feeding today:  in your home, your marriage, your internet activities?  Do  your actions/words/comments reflect the very principles you claim to hold dear?  In your personal relationships, are you the sinking ship even the rats won't cling to; or are you the worthy vessel that others seek refuge in when the storms would toss them asunder?  Is the strength of your character consistent enough to weather the storms.  Or, are you the haughty wind which uproots and leaves destruction in its' path?

On a personal note, as a Christian, I am charged to be A Wife of Noble Character.   Big shoes to fill you think?  No, I don't.  I don't think God would charge us with a high standard, wherein He didn't already equip us to succeed.  I think this verse is just as relevant to the modern woman.  After all, character, strength, dignity and wisdom, they never really go out of style.  Some find this verse intimidating, or feel it sets woman as entirely domestic and subservient.  Read it again.  She fulfills many tasks.  Tasks I can handle.  You know another reason why this verse does not intimidate me?  Not once is her physical appearance mentioned. In fact, it warns us that beauty does not last.  But in these modern days, what do we set our sights upon?  What are we feverish, ever-obedient slaves to that would place us in competition with another, rather than raising one another up to see our full, true potential realized.  

You know, I do get it though.   We are all busy seeking our personal freedom.  But here's the thing.  Freedom has two components.  There is "freedom to":  that's us all pursuing our dreams, goals and happiness; each of us determining the personal cost.  Each of us living our lives, building our marriages, raising our children, establishing our "empire" in the manner which best suits us.  But have we forgotten there is also "freedom from".   Whether that be from persecution, misrepresentation, harassment, or abuse.  It's a fine line between one person's strong opinion, and an other's bullying.  Are the opinions which you hold so dear like a deafening wind which drowns out all other sounds? 

You see, in this family, besides the fact that we are Christian, and thus always under scrutiny, we also are part of  The Thin Blue Line.    My DH must have integrity in his job, for sure, but what about when that uniform comes off.   Is he not still subject to the same laws as everyone else?   The Consistency of Character is not sewn into the fabric of that uniform, it resides within him.  Thus it goes where he goes; always.  There is always someone watching, listening, taking account.  This is the integrity that sees him working in the cold on a Christmas Eve, so you can enjoy your holiday safe and secure with your family;  while I am home alone with our kids praying for his safe return.

We must be consistent in our character less we cause another to stumble.  I feel the responsibility inherent within that.  Causing another to drift off-course, turn away, or be swept away.  It is so much more than "karma".  Sometimes, what you put out there, doesn't always come back to you.  Not in this life.   Bad things happen, crime does pay, and nice girls sometimes finish last.

But I say, better to lose the race, than to lose yourself.   Integrity should stick, no matter the price, no matter the adversity, no matter the outcome; no matter the acidic words from an other's tongue.  Do not let your actions, nor your tongue, betray You.