HOW MUCH IS YOUR INTEGRITY?

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Kobina Ansah

We have grown in a society that places materialism over every other thing. We badly want to earn titles. We will do everything we can to earn one property or the other even if it means sacrificing some values. Our society glorifies those who have climbed to the top of life… regardless of how they got there. Little importance is given to integrity. Little wonder we are still wallowing in all the ills that have plagued us.

Imagine a society where integrity would be a required course/subject we may have to read from primary school to university. Imagine what a society we would have had if we were all raised to be accountable to our conscience first… and anybody else next. Integrity matters. It is everything.

Have you ever sat down to weigh your integrity? Have you ever pondered on how much your integrity may have cost if it were sold? Would it have been weighty or negligible? Would your integrity be chaff or an exceptionally invaluable commodity if it were auctioned?

Integrity means self-accountability. It is doing what is right not because of others but because of yourself. It is doing the right thing not because someone else is watching but because no one else is. It is holding one’s self accountable to every action and inaction of theirs. It is owing humanity a duty of upholding values no matter the circumstances.

Integrity is like air. It may look cheap but in reality… very expensive. It is like salt. You may not know its importance until it’s absent from the soup. A society without integrity can barely stand. A society where everyone is cutting corners to climb life’s ladder can barely stand because eventually someone may not only cut corners but cut the ladder, too!

We are grappling with basic needs as a people because of a lack of integrity in our lives. Our leaders want to cheat their followers… and the followers will do everything to malign their leaders. One wants to cheat another today because they were also cheated same yesterday.  We speak ill of others without an iota of care. We wish others failed while we rose forgetting that their failure may have a rippling effect on us. Integrity is everything.

Integrity is love. It is honesty. It is maturity and chastity. Integrity is the mother of all values. Society loses its value when its people have no values governing their lives. Many of us badly want to be great in life whichever way possible… forgetting that success without integrity is like lust. It doesn’t last! Of what gain is our wealth if we cheated others to make them? Of what essence is our greatness if we had to eliminate others diabolically to take their place?

Can you handle government property as though it was yours? Integrity. Like the biblical Joseph, can you resist the beauty of a Potiphar’s wife? Integrity.  Can others trust you with their wealth and possessions? Integrity.  Can you do the right thing in your closet even when no eyes are watching? Integrity.

Only a little more integrity… and we won’t have others going to work not to work. Just a little more integrity… and patriotism won’t be a hard thing to do. Just a little more integrity and corruption will be a thing of the past.

A change in government won’t necessarily make our lives any better. We will do ourselves a lot of good by voting into power leaders who have stood the test of integrity with time. All a nation needs to develop is a team of leaders who have the people at heart; a team of leaders who would think about the next generation, not next election.

Nation building is teamwork. As much as leaders must have a trait of integrity, followers must have same, too. After all, followers today will be the leaders of tomorrow. If we have no sense of integrity as subordinates, integrity won’t just be bestowed on us because we became leaders.

A nation can only be run on integrity. A home can only be run on integrity. That which is right is right even when no one is doing it. That which is wrong is indeed wrong even if everyone else is doing. What is right or wrong is not relative. It is not subjective.

Do you want to see your family progress? Do you want a salary raise at your workplace? Do you ever want to see this nation leap in development? Ask whether you have enough integrity for all these to be a reality. If there were many of your kind, would there be any progress in this life? It all begins with you. Change begins with you.

Politics doesn’t run a nation. Integrity does. Integrity in your marriage/home. A sense of integrity at your workplace. Integrity everywhere. Integrity. Integrity. Integrity. It is everything.

Don’t dream of the top if integrity is one of those words conspicuously absent from your dictionary. If integrity is too hard a thing for you, greatness is too big a thing for you.

How much is your integrity? Can it be bought with a brown envelope? Can a slice of pizza buy it? Is your integrity as expensive as only GH20? Well… a cheap integrity makes a nation so expensive to live in. Don’t contribute to making this nation any more expensive.

The writer is a playwright and the Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, a writing company in Accra. (www.scribecommltd.com). His upcoming play, #MyWifeInLaw, shows on October 16th on KNUST campus.

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