This I Believe

Matthew - Cordelia, California
Entered on September 14, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity

I once heard someone say, “Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” That sentence has been riveted into my mind and I think about it all the time.

I was raised by a single mother and by my grandparents. They have all taught me how to be a good person and to always do what is in my power to do the right thing. Now as a young adult, I constantly strive to preserve my integrity. My grandfather was a very proud person, as are a lot of Vietnam War-era veterans. He showed me what dignity was, and how holding onto it is the only thing that is going to keep evil at bay in this world.

I work as a cashier in a local grocery store. All day long I open that cash register and look at hundreds of dollars. Now, there are a few things that keep me from taking a wad of twenties and stuffing them into my pants. First, there are several cameras positioned around the registers. Second, my register is steadily swarmed by a constant flow of people all day long, so even if I wanted to take money, someone would almost certainly see me. But what if there were no cameras? What if there were no people? What if I was all alone and I had that register all to myself? What would keep me from taking that money? My integrity is the answer. The fact that my conscience would remind me of that evil deed for the rest of my life is what would keep me right.

We don’t get commended or rewarded for not stealing, only the personal satisfaction that we did the right thing; the same satisfaction that puts our minds at ease and lets us sleep at night. It is this mentality that keeps our demons from enveloping our soul and turning us into something evil and heartless. It gives me hope when I see somebody turn in a wallet or a cell phone that they found in the parking lot. I know these people are the ones that keep a balance between good and evil, and as long as people like us exist, integrity and honor have a fighting chance in this world of selfishness and corruption. This is what I believe.