There is a growing problem in our society. We do not see it because of the subtlety of the attack. The evidence is everywhere we look: classrooms, boardrooms, and the streets. It is a sad truth that our children do not even know what has happened. The older generations just shake their heads and wonder, “Where did we go wrong?”
Society is only as strong and ethical as the people who comprise it. Our society is slowly becoming a petulant, selfish child. Today’s generation just looks at what the world can give them, how it affects them, and forgets that they are part of the whole. George Santayana stated, “Our character… is an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.” We must take this willful, ill-tempered child and mold it into a respectable adult. However, the change must begin at the individual level.
Our problem then, is how to turn individual men and women into fine upstanding citizens. Personal character and integrity are the marks of a responsible, respectful citizen. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know whether you did it or not.” We must discuss ways to promote the benefits of becoming a person of character and integrity. We must also examine the tenets of character and integrity to learn what it truly means to be a person of great integrity.
The Josephson Institute of Ethics identifies six traits of personal character. The Institute calls these traits ‘The Six Pillars of Character’. These ideals are part of an elementary school program called "Character Counts". The idea is good, but the effect is dulled by society in general. A comprehensive solution is needed to continue the message outside the schoolroom.
The Six Pillars of Character are appropriate for everyone and all religions. They are a guide for being the best person you can become. The traits have been valued in a man for centuries and have become a marker of greatness. These qualities are Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. It is these simple principles that are lacking in today’s society.
Let us begin by learning what it truly means to be trustworthy. A trustworthy person is honest, loyal, and keeps his word. He is worthy of your trust, he is dependable, reliable, and steadfast. Honesty means truthful, without deceit, no lies. “It is better to be poor and honest than rich and crooked” (Proverbs 28:6 NLT). Loyal means faithful and true to his friends, family and country. He keeps his promises unless extenuating circumstances prevent him from it. His word is his bond, his honor.
Respect is tricky to identify, perhaps because it is so lacking. Let us start with something simple, you must show others as much respect as you desire for yourself. This concept is very similar to the golden rule “Do for others what you would like them to do for you” (Matt. 7:12...