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The Hard Side of Integrity

Posted by on September 17, 2012

Courtesy Stuart Miles

My older daughter learned a lesson the other day. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. But it was important.

Our church has a retreat every year in the fall for all of the youth. This is the first year my daughter is old enough to go. She’s been looking forward to it since she found out about it. But we didn’t know the dates when we got the soccer schedule. She committed to play in two tournaments this fall.

When the dates for the retreat came out, my heart sank. The retreat was the same weekend as her first tournament. Our youth leadership decided that the kids either need to come to the retreat or not come at all. They can’t go back and forth. So, we were stuck with a decision.

Usually, I’m a proponent of making church activities a priority. But this time it boiled down to a matter of keeping our promises. If it had just been one game, my husband and I would have let her skip the game, but it’s a tournament. Her team is counting on her. And she committed to be there.

I broke the news to her that she wouldn’t be able to go to the retreat the other morning. We had tears. We had numerous comments of “It’s not fair!” We had a very sad daughter.

And we had a conversation about what it means when you make a commitment. We talked about how you have to honor your commitments even when it means giving up something you really want to do. We talked about how God tells us to keep our promises.

Proverbs 19:1 says “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” Part of having integrity is doing what you say.

That’s a hard lesson when you’re 11, and the one thing you’ve been looking forward to for months conflicts with the one other thing you’ve committed to for the fall. My heart broke as I told her she had to keep her first commitment. I know how much she wanted to go to the retreat. I know how much I wanted her to go to the retreat.

I wanted to make it all better. I wanted to wave my magic wand and make it so she could go to both. But I couldn’t, and this was an opportunity to teach her about keeping her promises.

So, today, I’ll shed a tear for what she’s going to miss. I’ll be sure next year that I have the dates blocked out early. And I’ll pray that my daughter takes away from this that sometimes what we want to do and what the right thing is to do aren’t always the same, but we should choose the right thing anyway.

Linking up today with The Better Mom and Graceful.

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