Integrity

Balrog

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
469
Location
Houston, TX
<Balrog hauls out the soapbox>

Integrity. You do the right thing even when no one is watching. Weve all heard this, right? When I teach this in my Taekwondo classes, I point out that it goes with honor like heads goes with tails. You cant have one without the other.

My other sport is bowling. I dont get to bowl anywhere near as much as I would like to, but yesterday I had some spare time, so off to the lanes I go. I take a break after the second line and head over to the vending machine for a diet Coke and a bag of peanuts. Feed in my dollar bill, punch the peanut code and clunk, clunk I get two bags of peanuts instead of one. So I grab the Coke and the peanuts, and on my way back to my lanes, I stop at the control desk and give them an extra dollar, explaining that the machine gave me two packs instead of one.

They looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted a second head. I rolled another couple of frames and when I came back from the approach, the manager was there. He said (paraphrasing) that he wanted to thank me. In all the years he had run those lanes, he was sure that people had gotten freebies like that from the vending machine because it always came up short a couple of bucks. I was the ONLY person that had ever paid for the freebie.

His astonishment at my doing something that simple because it was the right thing to do made me realize why we have issues teaching about honor and integrity in our schools, especially to the junior students. The concepts are apparently not being reinforced at home. Theyre durn sure not reinforced in media, such as TV, movies, etc. And it also made me realize how critical it is that we, as instructors, not only teach these concepts but live them as well.

We have to be the leaders by example. And one way it starts is with our posting publicly what we expect from our students in order to promote. Attending class and having the check for the testing fee not bounce is not enough. We have to demand that our students know the material, both current and previous, AND that they perform it with increasing levels of skill. For example, we might tell our White Belts that they have to know the form and the one-steps, and that we will be looking for three specific attributes, such as focus, pivot and correct execution of technique. They dont promote if those attributes are not there. Orange Belt, we look for form, one-steps, the White Belt attributes, plus three more, such as balance, courtesy and timing. And it continues. Each rank we demand more and we make it harder to promote, because we are raising the bar.

We are doing a disservice to our students if we dont do this. In my not-so-humble opinion, if we as instructors dont do this, we are not acting with honor and integrity towards our students. How then can we claim to be teaching them those life skills?

Ill get off my soapbox now.
 

Transk53

The Dark Often Prevails
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
836
Location
England 43 Anno Domini
<Balrog hauls out the soapbox>

Integrity. You do the right thing even when no one is watching. We&#8217;ve all heard this, right? When I teach this in my Taekwondo classes, I point out that it goes with honor like heads goes with tails. You can&#8217;t have one without the other.

My other sport is bowling. I don&#8217;t get to bowl anywhere near as much as I would like to, but yesterday I had some spare time, so off to the lanes I go. I take a break after the second line and head over to the vending machine for a diet Coke and a bag of peanuts. Feed in my dollar bill, punch the peanut code and clunk, clunk &#8211; I get two bags of peanuts instead of one. So I grab the Coke and the peanuts, and on my way back to my lanes, I stop at the control desk and give them an extra dollar, explaining that the machine gave me two packs instead of one.

They looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted a second head. I rolled another couple of frames and when I came back from the approach, the manager was there. He said (paraphrasing) that he wanted to thank me. In all the years he had run those lanes, he was sure that people had gotten freebies like that from the vending machine because it always came up short a couple of bucks. I was the ONLY person that had ever paid for the &#8220;freebie&#8221;.

His astonishment at my doing something that simple because it was the right thing to do made me realize why we have issues teaching about honor and integrity in our schools, especially to the junior students. The concepts are apparently not being reinforced at home. They&#8217;re durn sure not reinforced in media, such as TV, movies, etc. And it also made me realize how critical it is that we, as instructors, not only teach these concepts but live them as well.

We have to be the leaders by example. And one way it starts is with our posting publicly what we expect from our students in order to promote. Attending class and having the check for the testing fee not bounce is not enough. We have to demand that our students know the material, both current and previous, AND that they perform it with increasing levels of skill. For example, we might tell our White Belts that they have to know the form and the one-steps, and that we will be looking for three specific attributes, such as focus, pivot and correct execution of technique. They don&#8217;t promote if those attributes are not there. Orange Belt, we look for form, one-steps, the White Belt attributes, plus three more, such as balance, courtesy and timing. And it continues. Each rank we demand more and we make it harder to promote, because we are raising the bar.

We are doing a disservice to our students if we don&#8217;t do this. In my not-so-humble opinion, if we as instructors don&#8217;t do this, we are not acting with honor and integrity towards our students. How then can we claim to be teaching them those life skills?

I&#8217;ll get off my soapbox now.

As a human being, I try my very best to stick by my moral conscience, which includes integrity. What you have posted is most agreeable to myself irrespective of the fact that I am no instructor. You never know, perhaps that fella's apathy is down to the fact that he expects dis-honesty. It is the same over the pond, it is pretty much looked upon as "oh well #### happens"
 

ATC

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
70
Location
San Jose
Nice story. Good lesson for students also. Good job.
 

Cougar

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
32
Reaction score
1
Location
Bluegrass State
Completely agree with Balrog. So many out there today want to win at all costs and very often the cost includes honor and integrity.
 

granfire

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
15,904
Reaction score
1,525
Location
In Pain
Actually, I think that's honor...
Integrity is when adhering to your honor tends to bite you in the butt, but you do it anyhow, because it's the right thing.


Regardless, I think you are on to something.

:asian:
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
Oh brother. Plenty of kids have integrity, and plenty are honest. Give me a break. While the story might demonstrate honesty, the telling of it, and its overall tone demonstrates arrogance.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Cyriacus

Senior Master
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
47
Location
Australia
Oh brother. Plenty of kids have integrity, and plenty are honest. Give me a break. While the story might demonstrate honesty, the telling of it, and its overall tone demonstrates arrogance.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Well thats a bit harsh, but i dont disagree.

In my opinion, integrity and honor and all that are highly subjective. Honor can mean killing someone in a polite fashion, or it can mean killing someone impolitely then not mutilating their corpse. To provide one example of how radically different the definitions are from place to place.
 

Sukerkin

Have the courage to speak softly
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
15,325
Reaction score
493
Location
Staffordshire, England
:lol: Have some coffee, Steve :D. I think you grabbed the wrong end of the stick there my friend.

Balrog, is there room on that soapbox for two? :grins:. I don't necessarily, tempting as it is, think that honour and integrity are in decline, I think that they have always been in too short supply. But I do agree that they are essential attributes of character; or at least of the character of people I want to know.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
:lol: Have some coffee, Steve :D. I think you grabbed the wrong end of the stick there my friend.

Balrog, is there room on that soapbox for two? :grins:. I don't necessarily, tempting as it is, think that honour and integrity are in decline, I think that they have always been in too short supply. But I do agree that they are essential attributes of character; or at least of the character of people I want to know.
Okay. FWIW, I think that most people are good people. Everyone has lapses in judgement. Everyone makes mistakes. Kids, even up into their teen years, are incomplete people. There are some kids who have zero integrity, but I believe that they are few and far between. My grandma would say, "That child was born with larceny in his heart." And some kids are. But most aren't.

I also get really damned tired of hearing about how bad parents are. Some parents suck. But most don't. How do I know? Because most kids turn out okay. Parenting is a pass/fail activity.

If I may pull out my soapbox for just a moment, I'm pretty damned sick and tired of people building false arguments based on assumptions that are debatable, at best. The OP starts with the assumption that he is a man of integrity and that he is in the minority. I just don't believe that to be true. While the OP may have integrity (I have no reason to believe otherwise), I think most people try to do the right thing most of the time.

If we start from the premise that most kids innately want to do the right thing, then it frames the entire discussion differently. As a martial arts instructor you do have influence over kids, and you should consider yourself to be a role model for proper behavior. But you are no more or less influential than a teacher, a football coach or the band coordinator.

Off the soapbox, I do agree with some of the conclusions of the OP. I agree that adults should be mindful of the influence they have over kids. Kids are always learning from adults; it's just a matter of whether we're teaching them something positive or something negative.

I also agree that in order for a program to have integrity, the kids must learn what we allege to be teaching them. I personally think that you can't directly teach integrity. What I mean is, you can't say, "Today, kids, I'm teaching you about integrity. Do the right thing." It doesn't work that way. Kids learn to act with integrity by being involved with activities that are taught with integrity. For example, when kids play on a soccer team, they learn to be on time for practice, to work hard, and that when they don't work hard, there are consequences (maybe laps, maybe not starting, etc). They learn to work as a part of a team, and they learn sportsmanship. They learn life lessons through soccer, but at no point does the coach say, "Okay guys. Today's practice is about integrity." Integrity, honor, and self discipline are the foundation, but they are a byproduct of quality coaching. The actual activity is irrelevant, in my opinion. No one activity is better than any other to teach these important life lessons. Rather, the life lessons are learned as a result of kids working hard.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
Suk, I'm not sure what specifically in your post resonates with the posters who've "thanked" you for it. But, your post was short, and the part that really stands out for me is this statement:
" I don't necessarily, tempting as it is, think that honour and integrity are in decline, I think that they have always been in too short supply."
That is what seems to me to be the crux of your post. I have to say, it genuinely saddens me that you guys are so cynical and have such a poor opinion of your friends, neighbors and fellow human beings in general.
 

Sukerkin

Have the courage to speak softly
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
15,325
Reaction score
493
Location
Staffordshire, England
Still no coffee, mate :D? A whiff of it might, paradoxically, both cheer you and simultaneously reveal the state the world is in despite 99.9% of people being decent human beings.

Having a good opinion of people is fine but it should be acknowledged that even good people are steered down paths of lesser honour and integrity by the systems they live under. I've been burgled, had my car stolen, had my wallet stolen, had coats and jackets stolen, been attacked, had people borrow thousands and not pay me back ... and so on. Can I name one event where someone not a personal friend (either in RL or Web-Land) showed honour and integrity towards me or mine? No I can't, other than perhaps someone reminding me if I went to walk off without my umbrella.

I have, however, seen people that I thought better of do things that lowered in them in my sight. Not illegal, just acts of selfishness and greed that lack that moral compass we call honour {e.g. finding a wallet and keeping the money}. Breaches of integrity that I know of are numerous (breaking the speed-limit if there is no one to stop them, parking where they should not, sleeping with another mans wife).

The one 'law' that I seem to have observed over the years is that the more someone has materially, the less honour and integrity they retain.

Now I am not gainsaying your views, not really, just pointing out that everyone has good reason why they think the way they do about the general levels of honour and integrity to be found. Part of it is the way memory works of course as bad events always linger longer in the mind than small acts of kindness from strangers. Another part of it is that the greed based economics of our societies encourages less than stellar ethics. A yet further part is shown by this image that I have posted before:

View attachment 18187

Oh and I elect to think that what in my first post resonated with people here is "But I do agree that they are essential attributes of character; or at least of the character of people I want to know.". That and my general aura of awesomeness of course :lol:.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
Alright, Suk. If you believe that 99.9% of people are decent human beings, we're good. I agree.

If the OP's intended point was that adults have influence over the development of character in kids, I also agree.

I understand that I kind of rained on the parade here, but as I said before, there's some valuable truth surrounded by a whole lot of judgement.

And, for the record, I couldn't find anything negative in that picture. ;)
 

Tgace

Grandmaster
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
7,766
Reaction score
409
Yeah most kids turn out....."OK". I hope mine turn out better than that.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
Yeah most kids turn out....."OK". I hope mine turn out better than that.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

Lol. I'm sure you're a perfect parent, Tgace, and your kids will be paragons of virtue in an otherwise gritty and unforgiving world.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Tgace

Grandmaster
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
7,766
Reaction score
409
Lol. I'm sure you're a perfect parent, Tgace, and your kids will be paragons of virtue in an otherwise gritty and unforgiving world.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Its not about the end result Steve, its about the goals and expectations.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 

Tgace

Grandmaster
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
7,766
Reaction score
409
Its not about the end result Steve, its about the goals and expectations.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

IMO people set the bar WAY too low for themselves and their children these days. And I'm NOT talking about "success" or school grades...I'm talking about integrity, honor, etc....far too many people have set the bar to simply not getting arrested and talking about how "wasted" they got last weekend, or how important next weeks game is....

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
IMO people set the bar WAY too low for themselves and their children these days. And I'm NOT talking about "success" or school grades...I'm talking about integrity, honor, etc....far too many people have set the bar to simply not getting arrested and talking about how "wasted" they got last weekend, or how important next weeks game is....

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

As I said in the beginning, my opinion is that it is arrogant and sadly cynical to believe that you are better than everyone else and are the only person left who acts with integrity. Maybe I've been lucky, but most of the people I encounter are good people. While their kids aren't perfect like I'm sure yours are, they are good kids who will grow up to be good people.

It sounds to me like you need to raise the bar for yourself and stop hanging around the folks you're describing.

Out of curiosity, are you saying that sports fans lack integrity? I can see the not getting arrested thing, but I don't see how looking forward to "next weeks game" fits.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,589
Reaction score
7,109
Location
Covington, WA
Its not about the end result Steve, its about the goals and expectations.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

I disagree. Not about the goals and expectations part, because I think that's pretty much a given. But parenting is, IMO, all about the end game, which is a happy, healthy, well adjusted and productive adult. Fill in whatever specific words you'd like. If you've done a good job, they'll have the mental and physical tools, skills and moral compass to make their way in the "real world."

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Makalakumu

Gonzo Karate Apocalypse
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
13,887
Reaction score
232
Location
Hawaii
Tough subject. Integrity is hard to come by in our society. It's more than paying for a bag of peanuts. Principles only matter when there is an actual price you pay for following them.
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
23,235
Reaction score
3,539
Location
Northern VA
H'mmm...

What's "integrity" mean? Wholeness, right? If we talk about a ship's hull integrity, we're not talking about it's honesty, but about whether it's hull is intact. So... To me, integrity as regards character means that what you do in private or unobserved is consistent with what you do in public and while watched. And honest person is honest, whether anyone knows or not. A dishonest person will be dishonest -- whether or not anyone's watching. They'll just try to hide their dishonesty better.
 
Top