‘Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s the same but you leave them all over everything you do’ ~ Elvis Presley
Whether we like it or not, we are part of the instant, right-now generation, and core values, once such a big part of everyday life, are often forgotten and sometimes pushed aside. Whatever happened to making a promise and keeping it? Ever heard of the adage of your word is your honour? Where have good manners, honesty and integrity disappeared to?
Courage seems to be in short supply nowadays, especially emotional courage. When bullies target and harass the vulnerable, we tend to stand in silence or worse still record the incident to be shared on social media later. We need to speak out. No one ever said being brave is easy but the world needs us to step up, even in small ways, and do the right thing. Things will remain as they are if we live our lives in fear of repercussions or what others would say for taking action and speaking out.
Acts of kindness have such a profound effect on others. Not that long ago humankind had a stronger sense of connection with others. By extending a helping hand to others, we contributed to our community and in our way, make the world a better place. It’s a win-win situation! Being kind brings people together, creates a sense of belonging and inspires you to extend kindness to others. Kindness multiplies; it has the power to transform the world and leaves us feeling better about ourselves too.
One of the greatest evils today is that children are raised with little or no respect for their parents or others. Some students have minimal respect for their teachers and there is a growing trend where employees even disrespect management. When people are filled with contempt for their elders or superiors, they fail to learn from those who are wiser and have been around the block a few times. The result is that people will remain ignorant, arrogant and doomed to repeat the mistakes that their elders have already learned from.
Most people are polite towards friends and strangers alike. Courteous people feel more connected to others and are less lonely. They also show a greater sense of knowing where they belong. This has a big positive impact on their physical and mental well-being. When you think about it, courtesy costs nothing.
Our society has blossomed into a melting pot of various cultures and beliefs. How strange is it that we seem to have become less tolerant of our differences? Why are we judging? Why fear others who are different? We should rather celebrate all that makes us special and unique. Hatred and fear breed intolerance, violence and social disruption that could quickly spin out of control. No one is better than the other – we are all inter-connected. Tolerance breeds compassion, cooperation, cohabitation and social growth. Therefore, be open to learning something new from someone from a different culture and background.
Sadly we expect so little of each other and we’re not even surprised or that bothered anymore when people break their promises or behave without honour. The end justifies the means has become an acceptable school of thought for far too many people. Generally speaking, some people don’t blink an eye when committing an act of dishonesty. They tell themselves that they have a perfectly valid reason why the result justified their lack of integrity. What people don’t always realise is that integrity is vitally important because, without it, we can’t trust or believe in each other. Success will come and go but integrity is forever. It means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances whether someone is watching us or not. Integrity takes courage, to do the right thing no matter the consequences. A reputation of integrity doesn’t happen overnight – it takes years to build, yet it only takes a second to lose. Never allow yourself to do anything that would damage or compromise your integrity.
In the words of Billy Joel “Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue” How sad that there has to be a song written about (dis)Honesty? Honesty is probably, after integrity, the most important value to have. People in a position of power usually commands respect and we believe that truth would always prevail. Oftentimes honesty is sadly lacking; think about governments in general who don’t hesitate to feed us lie after lie. Trust and truth go hand-in-hand and can’t survive without the other. Once your honesty is called into question, you risk losing your good reputation.
‘’Wisdom is knowing which road is the right one. Integrity is taking it’ (Unknown)