May & June Character Trait
The story of the “Three Little Pigs” helps us understand integrity. As the story goes, the first little pig showed poor judgment in building a house of straw. The judgment of the second little pig was not much better; he built his house of sticks. Fortunately, we have the third little pig who demonstrated the good judgment of building his house of bricks, which was therefore, impervious to all the huffing and puffing the Big Bad Wolf could muster.
The pigs help us with the idea of good judgment, but it is the personification of their houses that helps us understand integrity. Integrity means to “hold together under pressure.” Integrity is gained by learning to withstand tough situations without crumbling to various temptations – like ignoring an assignment that needs to be done in lower school because you want to play instead or plagiarizing to finish a research paper in middle school. To young children we say, “Integrity means doing the right thing even when nobody is watching.”
To “hold together” in challenging situations, children need to be appropriately learning and applying all the character traits on our list – and lots of related ones, as well. Respect and responsibility are the essential ones, but good judgment, patience, and perseverance are very important, as well. Children have to sense the challenge at hand and hold strong to their convictions. You can’t achieve integrity if you haven’t been tested many times along the journey to maturity.
Having observed children with their grandparents at school makes one think about integrity. Children hold dear their grandparents because they sense the integrity that these older people in their lives have gained through trials, tribulations, time, and reflection. They sense that lots of good judgment was used along the way and that they wouldn’t be where they are today if they hadn’t gained patience and perseverance. Thus, grandparents can be great role models for integrity!