Those of us who have worked in offices or in a group setting have experienced the collection of funds for wedding gifts, baby gifts, flowers for funerals, etc. We’ve purchased cookies, cookie dough, frozen pizzas, coupon books, candy, and wrapping paper for fundraisers for schools and organizations in which our co-workers’ children are involved.
Someone close to me has participated in these collections of funds for many years. She has donated to every cause, even though she had no children with causes of their own. Recently, she had a life-changing event occur of her own that would certainly be worthy of flowers—at the very minimum a card signed by everyone in the office. After returning from a few days off work, she was surprised that no one in her office had even circulated a card of congratulations. She vented her hurt feelings to three of us close to her who do not work where she works. We joked about it, and she felt a little better.
Our little group has an interesting sense of humor, so afterwards, one of the members of the group decided to send flowers to our friend with a card saying it was from her office, so the three of us each put up a little cash for the purchase of flowers. When she received the flowers, she was surprised and began hugging and thanking people in her office. It only took a few blank stares and bewildered faces for her to realize who had actually sent the flowers, but she played along and continued to thank and hug. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that office!
Our friend later found out that someone in the office actually claimed to have sent the flowers and just put on the card that they were from the entire office! We were blown away! The audacity of a staff member claiming the credit is so shocking we are now left to wonder if money was then collected from the office staff for those flowers!
What began as a story of unkindness toward our friend, turned into a story of bewilderment at the lack of personal integrity of the people with whom she works. Can any of these people be trusted? How far would they go in their quest for notoriety? Is the lack of kindness somehow tied in some way to dishonesty?
What Exactly Is Personal Integrity?
Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary defines it as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.”
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency called personal integrity the solid basis for a foundation of faith. In the April 2012 General Conference, he said:
“Our choosing the right consistently whenever the choice is placed before us creates the solid ground under our faith. It can begin in childhood since every soul is born with the free gift of the Spirit of Christ. With that Spirit we can know when we have done what is right before God and when we have done wrong in His sight.”
Elder L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“A good character is something you must make for yourself. It cannot be inherited from parents. It cannot be created by having extraordinary advantages. It isn’t a gift of birth, wealth, talent, or station. It is the result of your own endeavor. It is the reward that comes from living good principles and manifesting a virtuous and honorable life.
With that noble quality of trust comes the reputation of one who is honest and possesses integrity. These are character traits that will ensure a long and successful career. The greatest asset you can put into your bank is the reputation of being a person of trust.”
Why Is Personal Integrity Important?
It would be a pretty sorry world if we couldn’t trust those around us. This may seem strange to those readers who are significantly younger than I, but I remember a time when nobody locked the doors on their homes or their cars. It wasn’t necessary to lock up your purse in the office. Office supplies didn’t make their way home with employees. If someone accidentally forgot to put money in the coin box on a bus, that person mailed it in to the bus company. If one hit a parked car, a note was left on the windshield with apologies and contact information.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to walk down the street knowing that you could trust everyone who lives in your neighborhood? I long for the day when I can walk through the grocery store with my purse in the basket, leaving my arms and hands free to shop. It would be wonderful to think about my grandchildren growing up in a society of honest and kind people.
President Thomas S. Monson, said at the close of the October 2008 General Conference:
“We are a global church, brothers and sisters. Our membership is found throughout the world. May we be good citizens of the nations in which we live and good neighbors in our communities, reaching out to those of other faiths, as well as to our own. May we be men and women of honesty and integrity in everything we do.”
Honesty and Integrity in Everything We Do
President Monson didn’t say to be honest at church or in the temple. He didn’t say to be honest with our spouse or with our children. He said to be honest in everything we do. I wonder how many of us have counted the number of pens we have accidentally brought home from work. Do we take them back where they belong? Do we ever exaggerate the truth a little for the benefit of a good story?
My husband is twelve years older than I and has been retired for several years. About eight months ago (just prior to our youngest child leaving on a mission), I made the decision to quit my job (being too young for retirement) so that we can spend time together as empty nesters before one of us (probably him) gets sick or too old to enjoy it. This means that we need to watch our pennies pretty closely these days. We like to go to movies together—something we could never do when we were raising our children. My husband is entitled to a senior discount on movie tickets, but I am not old enough. The employees at the movie theaters rarely look at me, because my husband is the one with the open wallet. It would be so easy to purchase two senior tickets instead of one senior and one adult ticket. As often as we see movies these days, it would save us quite a bit of money. Do we do it? Absolutely not! Personal integrity is at stake.
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.