Today marks one week since our final class on Commissioning a Lifestyle of Integrity(CLI) as the Emerging Leaders Foundation team. It was one of the best courses ever taken as a team as the commitment and zeal that each member had was so genuine. In case we missed out on any class, we always had to ask for a makeup class. It was pretty much like a school in session, pursuing a ‘degree in integrity’.
We learned that lies don’t become truth, wrongs don’t become right, evils don’t become good, even if they’ve become acceptable to the majority.
This course opened up our minds to see things differently. It helped us understand what corruption really is and why we should not join the bandwagon. At times we felt it was too much, practicing values that the society today has downgraded, like trust, influence, dignity, honesty, authenticity and honour: the six pillars of integrity. Our minds had to take a different dimension. For example, we have grown up learning that we should not question, but authenticity demands us to question when we don’t believe in something. That when we think influence is only limited by our position, integrity teaches that you don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’to be influential.
Integrity also teaches that trust establishes character; If people can’t trust you, people won’t build a relationship with you and that we can’t make people trust us, no matter how hard we try. People choose to trust you. Are you trustworthy?
When it come to honour, when withheld, fear, selfishness and dishonour bind a society but when given, love, generosity and respect liberate a society. Looking at our society today, it is easy to honour someone who seems honourable, but can you honour someone when they fail to give you reason to honour them? Being an organization that focuses on the youth, we realized that honour actually invests in the success of the Next Generation. It builds the road forward.
As for Dignity, those you struggle to please won’t help you in the end. Dignity defines your choice and it explains that even the young can teach and it’s a deliberate decision to learn from the young.
It was surely an interesting 12 week season of unlearning and learning. Our brains were literally being challenged and every session had it’s own moments of reflections and questions. We learned that lies don’t become truth, wrongs don’t become right, evils don’t become good, even if they’ve become acceptable to the majority.
At some point we wondered how, few as we were were going to be ambassadors of this great movement but then again as we ended the class, we had this to recite:
One song can spark a movement.
One tree can start a forest.
One smile can begin a friendship.
One handclasp can lift a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea.
One vote can change a nation.
One laugh can conquer the gloom.
One word can raise a heavy spirit.
One touch can show you care.
One life of integrity can make the difference.
We would like to thank the CLI group in Kenya, Elly and his team, authors, Don Mann and Bill Pipke for setting the pace and believing in the ‘One’ narative.