Integrity versus Intelligence

As I have been going about my daily life lately I have been pondering about what is important in life.  When I was young I was always told education was important. However, an emphasis was still also placed on one’s social life and one’s character.  Lately, I’ve noticed that adults seem to be over emphasizing the importance of education at the loss of helping kids have time to build their character. When I observed in different classrooms for an extended period of time, I noticed kids kept going
from one thing to another and it was all about learning. By the time the students are in 4th grade they only get one short recess at the end of the school day and that is only if they have finished all of the day’s work.  Through my own experiences I have noticed that some people have lost the value in having character. My sister recently went to a dentist that had Christian quotes in the lobby and professed to be a Christian organization. While my sister was inside, she heard the dentist and hygienist telling a man that was nearby that he was ugly, but that veneers would help. They were feeding on people’s low self-esteem to feed their own pockets.  Later they tried similar tactics on my sister, but fortunately she has enough confidence to not fall for such tactics.  I am sure we have all had many experiences like this.
This made me think about how some people who we would consider intelligent or professional have compromised their integrity and moral character for greed and other such pursuits. I realized, I want kids to know that being academically successful or having a career in a respected profession is not the most important thing in life. I want them to know that in life more so than those external factors one’s own integrity needs to be preserved. Integrity is more important than making a few more dollars. The above mentioned dentist would still be making enough money if she were not using people’s insecurities to make them get more done. She would also be losing fewer clients if she had integrity and cared that hers was a place people could go and trust her word.  But it is more than that. Building one’s character and being someone dependable and helpful in the community should be a lifelong pursuit. I worry that we have lost sight of that and instead are sending the wrong message to young people.

Certainly there will always be people using such tactics for their own gain. However, if we work to model friendships and morality and place an emphasis on this, more children could grow up to be honorable men and women with enough integrity to make good choices in life and not be tempted to make choices that could harm others.  Let us emphasize integrity over intelligence to today’s generation. 

May 8 2016