[Dedicant Path Requirement] Integrity

Almost every American schoolchild is familiar with the story of how George Washington unknowingly cut down a cherry tree as a child . This story is told to illustrate the virtue of integrity, which Washington showed by admitting that the loss of the tree was his fault even though his father was furious about it. Washington’s honesty illustrates a common definition of integrity: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” ADF says integrity is ”honor; being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self-confidence.” But I think that the integrity might be closer to a second definition: “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.” To me, integrity is holding on to one’s core self and values even in the face of ridicule or threat. I think we can call integrity a sense of certainty, an unshakableness. Someone with integrity cannot be compromised or adulterated – they will always tell you their truth, always show you themselves. Integrity means there are things that cannot be taken from you – that you cannot be changed from the outside by things that are done to you. The most memorable example of integrity for me is the character Valerie from V for Vendetta. She says, “our integrity…is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. …It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. It is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having.” She maintained her essential self, even though so much had been done to and taken from her – that, to me, is integrity.

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About November Jones

November Jones lives in a small but very colorful house with three cats and her very noisy partner, codename: Batman.

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