You lack integrity, said to me furiously by a retired soldier, disciplinarian Dad of mine with a five-fringes horsewhip locally known as “koboko” in his hand then 18-year-old, poor me crying on the floor, struggling to soothe the burning sensation soreness of the whiplash on my back, then my dad asked on the third lash why I told to lie about the fee of extramural lessons and then I lost it and I was ashamed of myself. Alas, the lie I told took me years to regain his trust.
It was a rare advantage on the side of me to have somebody like my dad who could help me realize at my tender age what integrity can depict in human character, at that time subsequently, I had it pictured in my mind that whoever tell lies lack integrity for the fact that my dad stressed that I lack integrity only because I lied about fee that was not supposed to be high in which I doubled the amount so that I could buy myself a handheld game console which fortunately my dad later bought for me after I confessed why I inflated the extramural lesson fee.
Whilst I already had it in my mind that integrity was about not telling lies then, however, I noticed through the course of my interaction with people’s behavioral pattern, politics, media activities in terms of educative series and whilst paying attention to religious sermons from the book of proverbs in the bible, I got to understand that what I knew integrity to be was just a fraction out of a whole of integrity sphere of patterns which encapsulates a lot of virtues but with a simple definition that integrity is the doing the right thing maybe somebody is watching or not. It would have been good enough if my dad had told me more about integrity than to have let me known that telling lies is lack of integrity because I still broke a glass cup a few weeks later after the horsewhip beating and I didn’t tell my mom about it and nobody asked me although I already prepared my mind to tell the truth if I would be asked.
Alas, typical example of integrity demonstration would have been fulfilled if I had told my mum about the glass cup I broke by mistake when nobody was at home, or how I kept quiet about the burnt electronic sound system owing to my negligence of using it on high power supply all because my college friends came visiting and the day I would chip away the iceberg in the freezer and I accidentally poked a small hole in freezer cooling line without telling anyone but my stubborn twin sister took the blames owing to the fact that I was a gentle-looking type and so they would never think I did such thing but I’m glad I now know that a man without integrity is dangerous than a dragon spewing fire as he is capable of plotting whatsoever without anyone’s knowledge as it would be easier for me to devise something more hazardous and still kept quiet.
Integrity is the holy grail quality of human character and way of life by being selflessly considerate to people, being honest to all, courageous in one’s dealings, respectful and knowing one’s responsibility when in position of power and the bottom line of all is the maintenance of self-identity and being known for something peculiar with the way Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were known for heroic and ethical image.
If I was selflessly considerate enough about what it would cost my parents to repair the gadget that got spoilt, I would have told my mum about the glass cup I broke and told my dad about the burnt electronic sound system and the freezer, I would have summoned my courage to confess and also to apply the truth which I thought had in me.
Unfortunately, this likened scenario of my reticence has gradually crept into the leadership pillars with lots of dishonest citizens and politicians savoring self-seeking of diverting funds out of the national treasury when they think anyone is not watching.
Integrity sometimes may be hard to discern in a person as sometimes it’s a sphere of patterns as there are a lot of individuals in our communities who we think hold integrity traits but rather are just hypocrites and fanatics.
In summary, integrity is simply how one always behave when no one is watching, self-identity, selfless service and being known for something far from hypocrisy and whilst some people can be considered lacking integrity which has not depicted that they are inadequate in other undertakings as I was still handling other activities with good and reserved character but I seem to lack integrity at that time.
In conclusion, anybody hoping to leave a footprint on the sands of times must possess integrity with the courage to execute a strong reality blueprint by performing in a way that is realistically recognized with principles that must have a positive effect on the social and political context.