Integrity is one of the words that is hard to define at first, yet it is a word that means positive, a value that most of us wanted to have. It is so abstract that we can’t define it on the first go.

M. Scott Peck defined integrity by contrasting it with the opposite. He cited an example called the Sunday-morning Christian (best exemplified by that Yano song, “Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo”). He said that our brain is like a cabinet with a lot of drawers, and we tend to open a drawer only when needed. He also said that maintaining one’s integrity is hard because it is a conscious effort and most of the time it causes us pain.

Integrity means sticking to what one believes; it means walking the talk. This is hard, for it can lead to inflexibility. But sacrifice it, and see your principles crumble, see your reputation crumble.

You might say that integrity can’t feed you. True, but that’s the problem, actually. Why sacrifice integrity so that you can eat? Hence we see our politicians switching parties like switching underwear just to win elections; we see officials eating their words just to save their comfortable office seats; we see religious leaders discreetly abandoning their morality to increase their church’s coffers.

And the most unfortunate part of this: we are teaching our children the same.