Many people speak of the lack of integrity in today’s world. Partly this is depicted as a lack of accountability, or ownership of one’s deeds or misdeeds. No one will admit responsibility for anything.
It was Henry Kissinger who said, “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.”
My father was a business man who had at one time an interest in local politics. He asked for advice from a friend involved in the town’s politics. His friend said, “Don’t even consider it, friend; you’re too honest.”
Those two thoughts are depressing to contemplate. Is there any integrity left in our world? If there is not, what can you or I do to restore it?
I remember that integrity is the first adult word I taught to my first grandchild, and in my judgement she has abided by it.
But that’s not enough because it is with children we must start, and I’m not grandmother to all children. However, I write for children and I can introduce the children who read my stories to people of integrity.
Currently I am writing about Linus Pauling. He certainly was a giant among men when it came to integrity. He was a genius who used his brain for the good of all. He sought better mental and physical health for all and he fought long and hard to bring about lasting peace in the world by banning nuclear bombs. In both realms he suffered loss of money, loss of time, and personal attacks against his reputation; but he never gave up, and he never compromised his integrity. During a US Senate investigative hearing of his activities he said, “I make up my own mind. If I want to take a chance, I take a chance.”
The Hartford Times commented on this hearing, “Dr. Pauling is obeying his conscience. The Senate should not interfere.”
The Washington Post said, “Justice is best served at times by those who defy authority. Professor Pauling offered a splendid illustration of the point.”
And in 1961, Time Magazine had Linus Pauling on its cover as “Man of the Year.”
After studying him, I think he should be recognized as Man of the 20th Century. He won two Nobel Prizes – one for Chemistry and one for Peace. He is certainly a fine example of integrity for children to meet in print.