At the age of 19 during my freshman year at college, I decided I wanted to become a pilot. And I went for it. That’s how I learned the importance of integrity. When you train to be a pilot, you have to go through many hours of ground school and flight training. I learned that one of a pilot’s critical responsibilities is the preflight inspection before he and his passengers board the vessel.
He should check out the inside of the aircraft to make sure all the instruments are working and inspect the outside of the plane, too—especially its integrity. It’s the pilot’s job to ensure that there are no cracks in the wings or fuselage. Even a minor breach can spell disaster once the plane is in the air. Likewise, a father must ensure that he is living a life of integrity as he carries his children on the journey. But what is integrity?
Integrity is what you do when no one else is looking.
To compromise, even in the slightest, could be devastating for your child. Dark secrets in your life can cause a dangerous breach in your fatherhood fuselage and keep you from growing as a leader in your home. Addictions—sexual, pornographic, gambling, drugs, alcohol—are primary culprits that will keep you from being the dad you want to be. When something unhealthy or wrong tempts your heart, you must guard your heart against that temptation. Succumbing to temptation, simply put, is caving in because it will, at least temporarily, satisfy you. All of us are tempted. But what we are going to do with that temptation that constantly sneaks its way into our lives?
A Breach of Integrity
A proverb says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” When temptation calls our name and seduces us, rarely do we take a step back, look at it logically, and say, “OK, I see this thing that is tempting me. Sure, it is exciting, it’s fun, and will make me feel so good. But I’m not going to go there because it not only will hurt me in the long run, but it will deeply wound my wife and my children.” So, how can we guard our hearts against being taken on down the wrong runway toward an affair, gambling, greed, workaholism, pornography, or any breach of integrity?
Be open for inspection.
One way to acknowledge the importance of integrity is to be “open for inspection” at any time and at any place. Here are a few personal examples.
- My wife, Susan, knows my computer password and can access it any time to see what I am reading and looking at. She also can see my calendar at any time.
- Susan and my kids also can pick up my smartphone any time to read my texts and emails and check out what kind of music I’m listening to.
- Susan has complete access to our financial accounts and can see where the money goes.
- My trusted assistant of over 20 years knows exactly where I’m at and who I’m with most of the time and helps keep me on track.
- A couple of my friends also know they have the freedom to probe into my life to ensure that I stay on course.
I am fearful of messing things up. I’m just one decision away from doing something really stupid and giving up a lifetime relationship with my wife and kids for a moment of pleasure.
One way to acknowledge the importance of integrity is to be ‘open for inspection’ at any time and at any place.
Being open for inspection is critical. So, the critical question for you is: Are you open for inspection at any time and at any place?
Portions of this blog came from my book, All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids.