By Donna Rayburn

My daughter and I were watching a cooking contest on television one night and the person who got eliminated got great reviews from the judges about his food. My daughter asked me why he got eliminated when his food was judged to be so good. I took this opportunity to describe integrity and use it as an example of where it was missing and show the consequences of not having integrity.

As I asked her to talk about how he interacted with the other contestants, she remembered how he helped someone else with a few things and at the judging time, he implied to the judges that if he hadn’t helped her, her dishes wouldn’t have been completed. My daughter realized that he wasn’t being honest and he was actually trying to make someone else look bad. We looked up the definition of integrity in the dictionary and as she read it, she said, ”He didn’t have integrity, that’s why he got eliminated.” Triumph!

Incidentally, the next week on the cooking contest show, another contestant didn’t confess to the judges that she did not do the job she was assigned, even though her dishes were the highest rated among the dinner guests. My daughter told our family, “She’s next to be eliminated because she doesn’t have integrity.” Of course my little ones wanted to know what she meant so we talked about different ways we can be honest. Honesty can mean more than telling the truth when you do something wrong. It can also mean telling the truth when you should have done or said something and you didn’t.

We talked about other examples that happen in our family like when my daughter can’t find her bike in the garage, her brother doesn’t confess that he didn’t put it back when he rode it last. I reminded them of the time we went to the store to buy 2 packs of gum and was only charged for 1 because my daughter was holding one in her hand. When we realized what happened, we talked about what the right decision was and we all walked back into the store to pay for the 2nd pack of gum.

I repeated the quote by J.C. Watts, “Character is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.” My children didn’t know what “character” meant but they responded, “God is always watching over us.” Bringing integrity to their level, we agreed that integrity means honesty.

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