Friday, March 5, 2010


In December of 2006 I had my oral board with the sheriff's office for the job I was trying to attain. It was nothing new to me, I had been to several other police officer oral boards and knew exactly what to expect. During that 30 minute interview I was asked a question that at that time I didn't realize would stick with me forever. The question was, "What does the word integrity mean to you?"

I felt that I had done pretty well in my oral board up until this point and when that question was asked, I froze."Integrity? What the heck does that mean? Crap. Bullshit your way through this one Rene" were all thoughts that were racing through my mind. I couldn't tell you today what it was I answered with but apparently it was good enough to hire me. Two long months later I started the very difficult dispatcher training program where I was constantly reminded of what the word meant.

Over the last couple of years I have come to find myself reciting that word and thinking over in my head exactly what it means to me. It has become part of my daily routine. The dictionary defines the word as follows:

in-teg-ri-ty (n) - Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

I would have to say that my definition of the word is pretty much the same. I see it as being your self worth and knowing that at the end of the day you can sleep in peace without feeling guilt. I see today in society that very few people actually have any integrity at all. I can admit that there have been nights I was uneasy and didn't sleep because of something I said or did on the preceding day; but I always find my way back to my foundation that is built on morals and ethics.

Where do we learn to act with utmost integrity? Is it from our parents? Our school teachers? Peers? Is what we see on TV causing us to make the wrong decisions or are we making them within ourselves?  It is something that is self taught and has to be worked on inside yourself. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. I am a strong believer that when mistakes are made, we learn from them and move on.  It is sad to me when I see people choosing a path of mistakes without thinking of the consequences that may follow. Do they have integrity? What does that say about their character when they clearly know what the outcome may be yet they still walk, or even run down that path.

What would our communities, country or even world be like if every single person had integrity? Would there be no crime? It's obvious that criminals don't have integrity or they wouldn't rob that man on the corner waiting for the light to change, or hold someone at gunpoint until given their belongings. Women and men alike wouldn't be raped or killed and children wouldn't be kidnapped. Drug dealers wouldn't solely base their income on creating or growing illegal drugs and that man in the military wouldn't constantly get away with one affair after another.

I know people who have integrity and I know some that don't. Unfortunately some of those people are close to me and I watch as they make mistakes, biting my tongue because I too have been in their shoes and chosen the wrong path. I can't tell them what they are doing wrong because that would make me a hypocrite, but I can voice my opinions in hopes that they will hear me. I can talk about self worth and what it means to me and my family. We have all made bad decisions in life and most of us learn from them.

Integrity has often been described as who you are when no one is watching. Thinking that you won't ever get caught and that it's "ok" to continue with those activities. In my generation I have been introduced to many who believe in that and I too am personally working with my own demons. I believe that being aware of the situation is the first step to getting your self worth back. I hope and pray that someday I can proudly say that I am completely and 100% surrounded by friends and family with the utmost integrity.


Diane said...

I have such a beautiful daughter with a beautiful mind. I love you.

Rene said...

I love you too Mom! Thank you for reading my blog... I only have a beautiful mind because you raised me!!