By Harold Keller
The greatest legacy anyone can leave is a legacy of integrity. That word is abused by many, especially in the political arena and world of sports.
Iíve often heard it said that integrity is not something you remind people that you have, but demonstrate it by action.††Integrity is defined as the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity.† After reading that, I realized that I donít know many people of integrity and, definitely, question my own.
Zig Ziglar, a great Christian motivator, related†the following when speaking of integrity:
A classic story is that of Brockdale County High School Coach Cleveland Stroud.† In 1987, this high school coach from Conyers, Georgia, and his basketball team won the state championship.† Community pride was at an all-time high; the trophy was safely locked in the trophy case for everyone to view.†
However, as Coach Stroud was reviewing the records and grades, he discovered that he had used an illegal player for 45 seconds in one of the games.† The player had zero influence on the outcome of the game, but Coach Stroud felt he had to forfeit the game and return the trophy.† As stated, this player had nothing to do with the victory they had achieved, but returning the trophy had everything to do with integrity.
Many people will say thatís taking it awfully far.† Those kids had worked hard for the trophy.† They had earned the championship. However, hereís one of those ironies of life:†Had they not revealed that an illegal player had been involved and kept that trophy, each one of them, along with the coach and the community, would have known deep down that they had not really won and that they really were not the champions. Rules are established in life, and winners play by those rules.†
The interesting thing, however, is the fact that since they returned the trophy, the coach, players, administrators and the entire community know that deep down they really were - and are - the champions.† Most important, the kids saw a classic example of what integrity is about and will, undoubtedly, benefit from that example all of their lives.
Ziglar concluded: Itís a fact that men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared - but only men of character are trusted.
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