My father was the most honest, fair minded, and ethical man I ever knew. His word was true and was a promise that he always kept. His handshake was strong and was unbreakable.
When I looked him straight in the eye, I could not ever lie to him. And, of course, he never lied to me. His standard was high but he expected everyone of us, his children, to live up to it.
His theory was, you do it right – every time – not just when it’s easy or there’s glory to be had. You do it right when it’s hard, when no one is looking, when no one else agrees, when it’s not popular and when it’s costly.
Sometimes my father’s stand on an issue was very lonely, painful and took all he had. But he didn’t budge once he made a decision. He truly had integrity and strength and honor.
My dad. My mentor. My hero.
I learned from an early age by just watching him. I learned later by his actions and his words.
I learned that words are important and can’t be taken back. It’s best to think before you speak, rather than after.
I learned that everyday habits are the key. What you do every time, everyday, in every situation keeps decisions to a minimum. It’s not your actions in the special occasions that will matter but what you do in the small everyday ones that will.
I learned that strength comes with repetition. The more often you decide to be honest and trustworthy, the easier it is to be a truly ethical person each time.
I learned that, even at a young age, I might be an example for someone else. I needed to be my best self, not just for me but for others as well.
I learned that being an honorable person felt good and was more often the most productive method of getting things done.
I learned later in my life, working as a nurse, that always always signing my name to accurate honest accountings was the only way I could live with myself and be true to my oath.
What my father taught me all those years ago, I am now teaching to my children and grandchildren. By words and deeds, I am passing on the gifts of honesty, honor, truth, strength, integrity, trustworthiness, loyalty and ethics.
It is my job, just as it was his, to see that the next generations see and hear these virtues.
It’s how they learn – from their elders!!!!