The evening was coming to an end and so were my wits. My oldest was crying in her room. As I went to see what was wrong, my son scurries out of the room avoiding eye contact with me, leaping into bed with guilt dragging behind him. I ask her what he did and in between gasps of air she belts out, “He’s exasperating me!” I ask her how he’s exasperating her and she proceeds to explain he sold her a pen for a dollar and now wants another dollar after she had already given him the money.
I call him into the room.
He peers ever so slowly from around the corner. His head is down. Our eyes barely meet.
He tells me this is true of what happened.
He’s hardly remorseful and more concerned that he didn’t get more than what he sold it to his sister for.
The words, “You need to give your sister back the money she paid for the pen…and she’s keeping the pen too,” rolled off of my tongue.
You would have thought I took all of his toys and burned them with the look I received from him.
I explained the meaning of integrity and what it means to keep your word. I explained there are few men who have it and having integrity is a noble characteristic.
I want him to know what integrity is. I want integrity to be his best friend. I want it to be my best friend too. I turn to him and give him permission as man to man that he can call me out on anything that I’m not doing with integrity.
It’s a two-way street.
I have seen men fall from high places from a lack of integrity. And no man is above falling.
I want my son to know I have his back. And I want him to have mine.
If he loses everything and has God and integrity, then he really hasn’t lost anything at all.