April 6, 2005
Integrity is alive and well
With all of the cheating in corporations, the sports
world and in marriages, is integrity becoming an "old
school" relic? Who still honors commitments?
A construction company has this as its motto: "If
you're not happy, we're not done." Their words imply
they mean what they say about quality work and customer
service. Since they have been in business for 60 years,
there is no way they could survive unless these nice-sounding
words translated into real-time behaviors. Integrity
is important and many businesses honor commitments.
Despite the statistics about broken marriages, tens
of millions of couples make their relationships work,
year after year. Mutual respect is the foundation of
their communication. They share responsibilities and "weather" the
inevitable tough times that are a part of human relationships.
Perfect marriages don't happen to perfect people, but
caring individuals place needs of a partner above ego
and pride in ways that allow forgiveness to overcome
heartache and a sense of humor to dissolve anger and
frustration. Marriage partners honor commitments.
Billions of individuals from around the world are mourning
the loss of Pope John Paul II, the spiritual leader of
the Roman Catholic Church, whose life, sacrifices and
death have touched many lives. Respect for this 2,000-year-old
tradition has captured headlines. Something about the
integrity of a person, even when his ideas were in stark
contrast to more "popular" stances, challenges
the strongest of personalities to pause, pray and even
shed a tear. Pope John Paul II, 1920-2005, embodied integrity
and changed the world he inherited, by honoring his commitments.
Recently, a near-fatal crash was avoided, about 20
feet in front of me, at the four-way stop at Munras Avenue
and Soledad Street in Monterey at 7:05 a.m. A preoccupied
driver accelerated through the intersection, heading
north, after the light had turned red. Parked in the
left turn lane, I saw the automobile fly by. From the
right, driving west on Soledad, another driver was nearing
the middle of the intersection, only to swerve left just
as the intruder made a similar movement. The cars may
have missed by more than inches, but if so, then only
by a little. No horns honked. No screams or threats were
heard. No road rage. Everyone proceeded. Both drivers
showed restraint, respect and forgiveness - and excellent
My response was a silent prayer of thanksgiving while wiping
perspiration from my forehead. Thankfully, no one was hurt,
even though a life-and-death mistake was made. Two adults
behaved maturely, and the remainder of my day was better.
Obviously, integrity still matters in business, sports,
marriage, religion, and, in day-to-day encounters, including "forgiving" a
thoughtless driver. Integrity involves understanding and
tolerance in business, at home and on the road.