Integrity Matters To Children

My husband thought it would be a great idea to sign our children up for roller-blading classes. His opinion is that it’s a life skill that’s more valuable than ballet or football. 😐 Totally different conversation and post – don’t go there.

Moving swiftly on. The thing about it is my son had to give up his beloved art club which he absolutely adores to accommodate roller-blading. So my husband said, as a compromise, he could do it next term which is this term. Now, come to the end of roller-blading lessons, we ask if they want to go back. My son promptly reminded us that we said he could do art club. (It would not surprise me if he kept a rule book somewhere) So it would appear we had no choice really. Or do we?

The dilemma is my daughter did not want to do art club any more. She wanted to continue with roller-blading. She usually has a way of convincing her brother to let go of what he wants so she can get her way. He has lost many turns on the iPad, TV, snacks, games, etc. as a result. This is a ‘habit’ that I am monitoring with the eye of an eagle. Trust me! My son being the perfect gentleman says “it’s ok”, forlornly, and offers to give up art. I said no, we’ll discuss it and get back to you.

My husband’s solution was for them to do what they both wanted. Please note – we only have one car. This would mean picking my daughter up from school, rushing to roller-blading classes (which is five minutes from home and twenty from school) and dropping her off. One of us would have to stay behind with her whilst the other zooms back to school (add another twenty minutes) to pick up my son from art club. And then make our way back to pick my daughter (cue a further twenty minutes). This running around like a headless chicken, all in the name of school clubs, is the sort of parent I really do not want to be. Seriously!

My husband would prefer they did roller-blading and so naturally he was pleading a case for my daughter but I wanted us to honour our word to my son. We talked about it again, and agreed that the headless chicken life was not an option and more importantly, we would honour our word to our son. So we ditched roller-blading for the meantime and both of them were signed on to art for this term.

It’s often very easy to forget that children are individuals with brains too. They monitor and cling on to every word you say more so than adults. Perhaps because they believe in you and take you at your word which is a value we sadly lose as we get older. How easy it would have been to ignore my son’s expectations and replace it another promise without thinking.

It’s a real shame when a child or teenager is unable to trust someone they rely on – a parent, teacher or authority figure. It’s an absolute shame. I witnessed the aftermath of such disappointment when I volunteered as a youth worker. It’s soul destroying.

Many parents take integrity for granted. If we want to raise children that value integrity, then it has to be modelled early on in life for children to imbibe it. Any other option would be a poor example and a slippery slope that I most definitely do not want to navigate with my children.

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10 thoughts on “Integrity Matters To Children

  1. Very relevant topic! Well done. Reminds me of when, after the 1984 Olympics, my father told us he would be taking the whole family to the Seoul Olympics. Of course I had no reason to think anything but that would happen. So when the Olympics came and went and nothing happened, I think I was traumatised. Now knowing how Nigerian parents speak, he probably just said it in the excitement of the moment but it has stayed with me o and I never promise my children without delivering. They try to corner you though but since I was born before them, I’m usually a step ahead. So a question like, ‘mummy can I go to xxx in the summer?’ would get the answer, ‘let’s talk about it closer to the time’. Ok enough of this long thesis!!!!

  2. Lola, I feel you. Still remember an ‘uncle’ who said 5NGN goes to the person who catches a ball he woul throw. I was 9 and I am still waiting. Still remember where we were standing when he made that statement-I call it promise.

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