After hearing for the umpteenth time last week the following coming out of the mouths of Australian politicians from all sides, “We must do whatever it takes to uphold the integrity of parliament,” I looked up integrity on my computer dictionary. It says: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. The state of being whole and undivided.”
Instead of being whole and undivided it seems to me that most politicians behave in the opposite. Their brawling in question time in the Australian parliament is something to behold. I saw veins popping last week and behaviour that wouldn’t be tolerated in the school yard. It is a farce.
We need people of integrity and character leading us and we don’t when it comes to most of our politicians. The political system it seems to me is largely to blame. I regard Barack Obama as a true visionary and a person of integrity and character, yet even he can’t bring about the changes he desires and most of us want, because he is strangled by a system that is about division not wholeness, walls in the way of progress rather than bridges to progress, a system that perpetrates disharmony rather than wholeness.
And how about the organisations you lead and belong to, are they being whole and undivided? And what are you doing about it when they are not?
Sparkenation 10 in my Changing What’s Normal book is titled Where have all the people of character gone? and reads:
Heavy storm clouds stay hanging over business, religion, politics, sport, and the media. Almost daily many so-called ‘icons’ are continuing to have their characters questioned. These clouds always produce rain and wash away the ‘stars’ like twigs in a river.
Changing What’s Normal
Like never before the world needs ordinary people of character to stand up and be counted because many of the people leading us don’t understand leadership, have sacrificed their characters in their quest for power, and in some cases, their behaviour threatens our very lives.
Recently the father of a good friend passed on. He was a man of character and an inspiration to my friend. His passing caused me to reflect on my own father who passed more than a decade ago.
Like my friend’s father, my dad never had his name up in lights too often but left a legacy to be proud of in his world nonetheless. I miss him. Dad was a man of character. We never always saw eye to eye. It was the words of the Mike and the Mechanics song In the Living Years that urged me to settle my differences with Dad not long before he died.
“It’s too late when you die”, the song says, “to admit you don’t see eye to eye.”
Towards the end, Dad came to hear me speak. Before I began he announced publicly: “I probably won’t agree with everything the speaker says this morning, but I am proud that he is my son.”
People of character lay it on the line like that.
People of character are unafraid to speak their minds.
People of character always tell the truth as they see it.
People of character are trustworthy.
People of character have integrity.
People of character enjoy being popular but don’t seek popularity.
People of character seek win/win but do not compromise their principles.
People of character do what they believe is best for the common good regardless of the resistance they encounter.
People of character praise in public and offer critique in private.
People of character are givers not takers.
People of character focus on building people’s self esteem and never engage in ‘put downs’ or the blame and shame game.
People of character are those we really look up to and admire.
People of character are those we follow when it matters most.
Be a person of character. You are needed like never before.”
Send me a email and I will send you the eversion of my Changing What’s Normal book. You can purchase your own copy here.
Be the difference you want to see in the world.
In fond memory of my mother Gwenda who passed on 14th May 2012 aged 82. She lived her whole life a person of integrity and character. I am glad I was able to often tell her so.