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  • Writer's pictureYashodhara Lal

Integrity As Explained By a 12-Year Old

In the last year, the word 'Integrity' has become extremely important to me. Broadly defined as the consistency between what you say and what you do. It is really surprising that what seems like a basic value is the most broken when it comes to everyday living, as I learnt for myself when I began to see how often I actually said one thing and did another.

'I'll call you tomorrow' being the most common little lie, just as an example.

Trying to live in accordance with my word has drastically simplified life, although of course I have a long way to go with being consistent with this. It's become a bit of a buzzword at home too, as I noticed today.

'Thappad maar doonga!' said my son angrily Papad to his twin, Pickle.

'Papad!' I interjected, overhearing. 'What's going on?'

'Don't worry, Mom.' said the cheeky older-by-a-minute Pickle, 'He won't do it, he just says it when he's angry.' After a pause, he informed me proudly. 'When I say it, I also do it! I have INTEGRITY!'

This exchange reminded me of how I had told all three of my kids to write an essay about Integrity to make up for them breaking their word about something ( yes, I'm that kind of mom and I'm happy about it).

Peanut, aged 12, came up with the following spin on Integrity. What I found most interesting personally is that she didn't differentiate between Integrity and Authenticity; she went beyond the consistency between 'what you say' and 'what you do' right down to who you really are and being true to yourself. I had asked her to write 500 words, but as you can see, she managed in less. (The last garbled sentence is her little crack, based on a joke about how kids try to extend their word-count by throwing in big words for essays they are forced to write).

I hope you enjoy her essay as much as I did.

INTEGRITY by Peanut (Lal) Sharma

Integrity, according to the dictionary, means "honesty and goodness" and "wholesomeness". But based on my views and the movie "Small Foot" I have a different definition.

Integrity is shown throughout the movie as being true to yourself and those around you. Naturally, I agree. Everyone knows that anything animated must hold some truth to it. Building on this, I feel that integrity is the constant act of being true to yourself, honest, as well as holding high morals. That means knowing how to tell right from wrong and acting in a way that you are comfortable with, which you can also be proud of.

One example of what it means to have integrity is, to be honest when you make mistakes. If you have an integrated personality, you'll be able to learn from your mistakes, which makes you, on the whole, very wise.

Integrating integrity (see what I did there?) into your life can make you a much more likable and trustworthy person, not to mention happier and more at ease with who you are. It can make you less insecure, reduce stress and anxiety, in a way making you more confident. I say confident, as you are more comfortable with your actions, and more accepting of yourself. Once you have accomplished this, no one can bring you down.

Adding on to my own very mature and wise words, I feel that integrity also shows through your work. Plagiarism, for example, the art of presenting others thoughts as your own, is the exact opposite. You can show integrity through your work by quoting the relevant author, or simply writing original pieces. Also, you can just be honest. It's easier, and it saves a lot of people a lot of pain.

As Migo rightly says in the movie "Always be true!", I conclude my piece. Why waste 500 words when I can say all I need to in 300?

"Henceforth, I am unable to can".

(End of Peanut's Essay)

P.S - The biggest irony of this little assignment was revealed later when I discovered that young Papad had first tried to get his brother to write his essay on Integrity for him, and later was found googling for it so he could copy-paste a couple of paragraphs.

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