The story: He came into the house flustered one evening after dinner. “What’s wrong?”, I asked. “A guy golfing (we live on the fairway of a local golf course) came into our yard, and tried to hit his ball between our trees and the ball bounced off a tree and into the neighbor’s yard and broke a window!” (Yes, this was spoken like a run-on sentence as well). The neighbor with the broken window who lives across the street had just come over to look for the golfers on the course as well (apparently this has happened before because a lot of the golf members have a slice problem). But a few minutes later Carter begins to cry and says “I did it. I hit the golf ball.”
You may have recently heard another story regarding a different Carter. Chris Carter, the Hall of Fame NFL receiver and current analyst for ESPN, is in the news for something he said in 2014 to the incoming group of NFL rookies. “Just in case y’all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y’all got a crew, you got to have a ‘fall guy’ in the crew…Y’all not going to do all the right stuff now. I got to teach y’all how to get around all this stuff.”
Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; good character.” My son, knowing there would be consequences, admitted and faced his mistake head on (seriously, hitting very bad golf shots in our back yard can lead to real problems!). Chris Carter, on the other hand, gave advice to grown men do just the opposite. He encouraged them to lie, to manipulate a situation, and “get around” from their future mistakes. I pray my son never hears or acts on advice like that.
Integrity is one of the qualities I’ve stressed upon Carter since he was very young. I tell him my definition of integrity is doing the right thing when it’s very hard to do it. While I was upset with him and that the window will cost me (and him) a few dollars to replace, I don’t think I’ve been more proud of my Carter. It’s pretty clear to see in those 2 examples which Carter displayed integrity and earned an A+.
“Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse”, Proverbs 28:6 (NIV).