Integrity is knowing the difference between right and wrong. And choosing to do the right thing, even when it is difficult.
Most people find it difficult to show integrity, particularly when they feel pressured, or when they are faced with opposing points of view. When people want to fit in, the correct choice is not always the easiest one, and many will put aside their integrity to feel accepted. Underage kids are pressured to drink, and often they aren’t strong enough to say no.
People can also be pressured to steal for their friends.
Teens also give in to the bad decisions like sneaking out and going to parties they shouldn’t go to. Doing the right thing is hard when acceptance is at stake. Lack of integrity in character can cause people to change. Bridget* used to be an innocent girl in the sixth grade. She was really quiet and considered a“goody-goody.”As she got older, she struggled with acceptance and began hanging out with a group of people that behaved in a way that was different than what she was used to. And because she wanted to fit in, she began drinking and smoking. The more she let her integrity fail, she began to change.
She lost her faith and became rebellious.
She began to dye her hair every color, cussed a lot and explored her sexuality in different ways. Bridget needs the right group of friends to push her towards the right path. Just as a bad group of friends can challenge one’s integrity, a strong and moral group of friends can help one’s integrity grow. Without true support, Bridget will continue to have a difficult time in every area of life and have a hard time showing her integrity.
Integrity often requires making a difficult choice at a difficult time.
While this can be a difficult thing to do, when one chooses to make the right choice, they build up their integrity. This makes it easier to continue making choices that show integrity. When someone chooses not to show their integrity, it is the beginning of a long line of bad choices.
Harlie Bott, Sophia Sherman and Madison Hill*
Names have been changed to protect the identify of those involved.