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Being PresentParenting

One Simple Way to Live With Integrity

By November 6, 2014August 28th, 2020One Comment

In Theodor Seuss Geisel’s, a.k.a. Dr. Suess’, book Horton Hatches the Egg, we learn about Horton, an elephant, who agrees to sit on an egg in a nest while the momma bird, Maysie, takes a break. Horton faithfully sits on the egg through all kinds of adventures and mishaps, mockings, and tauntings. But Horton says,

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.
An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!”

Think about these phrases:

  • He speaks with forked tongue
  • Speaking out of both sides of your mouth
  • Just Kidding (JK)
  • Little white lies

The mid-term elections are over (thankfully). While I’m grateful for the privilege of living in the United States where I get to choose who represents me in government, like everyone else, I don’t like the political ads.

The phrases above run through my head every time I see one of these ads. Unless I’ve had personal dealings with a candidate, I’m frankly skeptical of everything I read or see. Experience has taught me that most, not all, but most politicians can’t be trusted to speak as plainly as Horton the Elephant.

Now, ponder these other phrases:

  • Gentlemen’s agreement
  • His word is his bond
  • Word of honor
  • A man of his word

In my favorite book, it says, Let your yes be yes, and your no be no….”

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that statement out. Simple integrity. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

No doublespeak.

No duplicity.

No equivocating.

No ambiguity.

No unintentional words.

Simple, right?

Maybe not.

  • What do you say when your child keeps whining at you to do something when you’ve already said “no”?
  • What do you say when your spouse finds the receipt for a surprise you purchased?
  • What do you say to your best friend when you’ve agreed to attend an event but now you’ve got a line on free tickets to a playoff game for your favorite team?
  • What do you tell your boss when you miss a deadline?

Ouch.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.

Integrity in our words.

There’s no such thing as a “little white lie”. Not if we’re honest. Either it’s the truth or it’s not. Every word spoken with the intent to deceive degrades our integrity.

We laugh when we read Dr. Seuss’s book about Horton, but the truth remains the same. A person who says what they mean and means what they say is someone who is trustworthy. Someone we don’t doubt. Someone we can turn to when life turns ugly. Someone we believe, and believe in.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.

A simple concept; difficult practice.

What we say is important. Living up to what we say is even more important.

How will you say what you mean and mean what you say today? Tell me about it in the comment below.

One Comment

  • bethanypalmer says:

    Kirsten – thank you for the reminder – it is so easy to “make an excuse” to get out of something instead of speaking the exact truth – seems easier but then I know it isn’t true and that weighs on me – thank you for the reminder!!