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This week we take a look at Asset #28, integrity and Asset #29, honesty. According to the Search Institute, “Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when the young person acts on convictions and stands up for his or her beliefs,” and “Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they are able to tell the truth, even when it is not easy.”
According to local data, 74 percent of youth reported having the integrity asset and 67 percent reported having the Honesty Asset. Those numbers aren’t too bad, although if you relate them to grades, we’re looking at Cs and Ds, but even so, it is a passing grade.
We can start with a look at integrity. I’m not sure how often we’re able to demonstrate our integrity that is of notice these days. Your integrity isn’t always visible and the nicest person you know might not be the one with the most integrity.
One way you might demonstrate your personal integrity is by showing how you stand by your word, even when you don’t feel like it.
Let’s say you decide to volunteer on a project but then find out someone you don’t enjoy working with is part of that team. Perhaps you became part of a work task and find out it is too much effort. Tell your children when these types of situations present themselves. Then show them how you still follow through even though it doesn’t work out exactly the way you’d like.
When honesty is concerned, the parent’s behavior is one good determinate. If your child sees his or her authority figure constantly telling lies, the apple won’t fall far from the tree. Those small fibs might seem pretty big and end up in a Catch-22 situation when you’re on the receiving end.
When you catch your student in a lie, it will be hard, but try not to over react. Try giving them a second chance to tell the truth with a statement like, “Do you think I might be struggling to believe you right now?” The line will catch them off guard and might lead to open discussion instead of a defensive blocking move.
Think about how it might turn out, if you over react the first time. The chance of you getting honesty the next time around might be hampered instead of encouraged. It doesn’t mean no matter how good your intentions are that you accidentally over react. If so, try to verbally take a step back and say you’re sorry. Tell them it was just that you worry about them or have their best interest at heart.
One of my biggest fears for the youth today is that some parents and caregivers are trying to safeguard everything in their lives. They want them on a certain sports team, with one teacher and not another or not in a group because so and so is in that group.
If we don’t put our children in situations that are slightly uncomfortable, we’re doing them more harm than good. I’m going to be blunt, so shield your eyes if you must – sometimes life has to suck in order to appreciate the important things.
Yes, life would be pretty grand if we always got what we want. The reality is once they leave the nest, I’m sure things won’t happen that way and even the best “helicopter parent,” won’t be tolerated by college staff, a future boss or an unruly roommate.
Good luck and God- speed my friends, it isn’t easy, but at least I’m being honest.
Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets Coordinator for Los Alamos. Join her Monday morning from 9:30-10:30 on AM 1490, KRSN as she talks to musical artist Peter Apel about a local concert this Thursday. Assets in Action is sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.