A STORY once told about a king who had no successor, so he invited all the children in the kingdom to visit the palace. He then announced his plan to choose one among them after giving each a seed. The test is that they should be able to grow the seeds after a year. When the time came for the children to show the results of their efforts to the king, all came with a plant except one boy who brought a pot with no plant at all.
The story ended with the boy bringing no plant chosen as the heir to the throne. The catch is that the king has given everyone a boiled seed to the point that nothing could grow out of it. Because of their desperation to rule, all except one, faked the result. However, one boy’s integrity placed him inside the palace in no time.
Who among the characters in the story describe us in terms of integrity? Are we like the children who faked the result just to gain the throne or the boy who kept his integrity intact and brought a pot of soil?
Like these children in the story, our integrity is challenged by the way we respond to tasks given to us at home, in the office and in the community. From the simple returning of excess change in a jeepney; logging in on time in the office; maximizing official time with what is supposed to be done to the owning of simple or grave faults inside the home, these things challenge whether we stick to absolute truths or compromise to save face and pride.
Take a deeper look at the boy who brought a pot of soil to the king. In the process of watering the seed for a year, he must have faced the same temptation of faking the result as the other kids, yet he remained faithful to the truth. Never did he expect that his integrity brought the crown to his head. Unlike him, we may not receive crowns or thrones after accomplishing tasks, but it still pays to keep our integrity intact.
Having integrity in life is a reward in itself, because integrity is protection. A wise man once said, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
In contrast, examine the lives of the children who faked the results just to gain the throne. They must have been confident that the seed should have grown like the normal course of things. Imagine their dismay when after days of watering, it never germinated. The sad realization is that they went as far as faking the result just to attain their goal. Isn’t this true in real life today? Many chose to fake results rather than go through the process of humiliation caused by failure. The question is, can we exchange our integrity for the sake of our goals? Can we exchange our integrity for a bowl of soup?