When others trust you, they believe that you’ll do what you say you’ll do and keep your promises. You show integrity when what you believe matches what you do.
Figuring out the “right thing to do” can be difficult. Imagine that a cashier gives you too much change. Are you honest and return the extra money or are you dishonest and keep the money? Sometimes the choice that matches our values could be costly or inconvenient.
Basic concepts of trustworthiness:
- Be honest
- Don’t deceive, cheat or steal
- Be reliable; do what you say you’ll do
- Be loyal
- Have the courage to do the right thing
- Build a good reputation
- Keep your promises
Teach trustworthiness with T.E.A.M.
- Teach: Show your child how using the tool below can help them make good choices.
- Enforce: Praise your child when they make good choices. Provide fair consequences for dishonesty and deceit.
- Advocate: Talk to your child about times in your life (and listen to theirs) when it has been hard to be honest or keep promises.
- Model: Be a good role model by doing what you say you’ll do.
Ask your child what they think: is there harm in a little white lie? Here’s one way to decide. If upon learning of the lie, would the person lied to thank you for caring or feel betrayed or manipulated?
Excellence with Integrity Tool: Integrity-In-Action Check List
When making a decision, ask yourself these questions to help make sure your decision matches your values.
- If the situation was reversed, is this how I would want to be treated? (Golden Rule Test)
- Will I feel good about this afterwards – no regrets, no guilt? (Conscience Test)
- Will my parents be proud of this? (Parent Test)
- Would I want this reported on the front page of the newspaper? (Front-Page Test)
- Would I want to live in a world where everybody did this? (What-If-Everybody-Did-This Test)
What if it is still not clear what to do?
- Think it over some more
- Seek additional insight from people whose character you respect.
Want to learn more? Check out our Parent’s Guide to Teaching Good Character
Share your tips on teaching trustworthiness in the comments!