Friday, May 28, 2010

Teaching integrity

The message at church last week was about integrity and it got me thinking about the topic…

On a cold and rainy Saturday a couple of years ago my son and I decided to take in a movie. This is not an unusual thing for us since Saturday’s have traditionally been father/son-days for us. There were few people in the theater and as we walked out of the show I noticed the movie next door to us was about the start.

Suddenly the idea of popping right into another movie sounded like a lot of fun. I quickly made the suggestion and the look of excitement on his face was priceless. When we got in the theater we noticed another dad and his kids had done the same thing.

I don’t remember the movie being particularly good. The enjoyment from my son had to be that we were getting away with seeing two movies for the price of one.

Oops!

Suddenly I realized what I was doing. In a way I was teaching my son that it was ok to steal. Sure it was only movie but the reality was we were there and had not paid for it.

On the way out we stopped at the kiosk outside. Conner of course asked, “What are you doing dad?” I responded by telling him that I was paying for the extra movie we saw because it was the right thing to do. “But no one saw us and we are even out of the theater” Dad—“True son but that is an even a better reason to pay since it is what we do when no one is looking that defines who we really are”

He simply responded by saying “oh” and I did nothing more to drill in the point or make a big deal about paying. In fact, I pretty much forgot about the whole thing.

Now comes the cool part that I will especially not forget. Several weeks later I heard Conner tell a buddy about the day we saw two movies back to back. There was a little bit about the movies of course and then he also made a point to brag about the fact that we had paid for the second movie. Bragging about integrity? I will take that any day.

How often do we as parents miss real opportunities to teach our kids? The fact is we teach everyday with all of our actions. Even the little things we do can send a big message even if we do not realize it at the time.

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