Lately, I have been creating some curriculum for my son’s coming of age ceremony that we’ll be hosting in a few months. It has me thinking about what’s important for a young person to consider as they move into the crucible of adolescence.
One of the first assignments I gave my son is an exercise developed by Maria Nemeth to help clarify your own personal Standards of Integrity. The idea being that what integrity means to me may be different than what it is for you. Rather than following institutionalized morals that tell people how they should behave, it’s about looking at what you personally value and creating your own measurement of wholeness and success.
The exercise involves coming up with names of people you admire and distilling down the qualities they represent for you. I went through this process a couple years ago and made the little integrity card pictured below to keep in my purse. I look at the card every now and then, when I need to. It encourages me to live up to what I believe in, and it reminds me that I get to decide what those things are.
I love the word integrity. It has been a major theme for me this year. I have taken a hard look at the places where I needed to get into better alignment with the truth, and it has required me to let go of quite a few things. Jobs, schooling, relationships, personal patterns, etc. If I was saying one thing and doing another, or receiving clear intuition and ignoring it, I couldn’t hide anymore. While the process has been rocky and emotional, it has made me stronger and more trusting in the long run.
This is what integrity comes down to, for me. If I am being kind, brave, and genuine, I am doing alright. I do my best. I can’t expect perfection; in fact, perfectionism has been one of the first things to go. I care more about forgiveness than getting it right the first time.
I’m asking my son these questions now too. What is important to you? Who do you want to be in this crazy, beautiful, painful, glorious life you’ve been given?