Integrity Matters Broadcasts
June 1, 2005
Integrity is alive and well
While attending a board meeting recently, one
of my friends said that he had decided to quote me. I
asked what he heard me say that he thought was worth repeating,
and he handed me a note with these words: "Enthusiasm
is good. Prudence is better." Appreciating
his compliment, and thinking a bit more about my words,
it seems one additional phrase would complete the thought
and make it stronger: "Enthusiasm
is good. Prudence is better and integrity-centered
leadership is best, when it includes character, charity
and graciousness." Given
the architectural framework of our integrity arch (the
canopy for sustaining substantive leadership) http://www.brachercenter.com/integrityarch.html it
is easy to build a better society and more productive workforce
with integrity-centered actions. However, quality and productivity
require discipline. In the words of an insightful professional
basketball player, discussing the stresses on those who
win championships: "With the pleasure of
the treasure (meaning the trophy) comes
the pressure." Progress, victory, success,
power - if achieved with integrity - will demand
Illustration # 1: Honoring global citizenship
- James F. Bracher: a Paul Harris Fellow
Long-time member of the service club, Rotary
International, Basil E. Mills contributed
- in the name of James F. Bracher -
a gift of at least US$1,000 to the Annual Programs Fund
making me a Paul Harris Fellow. Because
of his gift, I received a commemorative certificate,
a Paul Harris Fellow pin, and a medallion. My awareness
of the constructive work of the Annual Programs Fund
is summarized below, with links to the Rotary International
Rotary and Paul Harris
The world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago,
Illinois, USA, was formed in February of 1905 by Paul P.
Harris, an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional
club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small
towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" derived
from the early practice of rotating meetings among members'
As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving the
professional and social interests of club members. Rotarians
began pooling their resources and contributing their talents
to help serve communities in need. The organization's dedication
to this ideal is best expressed in its principal motto:
Service Above Self. Rotary also later embraced a code of
ethics, called The 4-Way Test, that has been translated
into hundreds of languages.
An endowment fund, set up by Rotarians in 1917 "for
doing good in the world," became a not-for-profit
corporation known as The
Rotary Foundation in 1928. Upon the death of Paul Harris
in 1947, an outpouring of Rotarian donations made in his
honor, totaling US$2 million, launched the Foundation's
first program - graduate fellowships, now called Ambassadorial
Scholarships. Today, contributions to The Rotary Foundation
total more than US$80 million annually and support a wide
range of humanitarian
grants and educational
programs that enable Rotarians to bring hope and promote
international understanding throughout the world. In 1985,
Rotary launched the PolioPlus program to protect children
worldwide from the cruel and fatal consequences of polio.
Rotarians stand at the brink of a great victory and look
forward to celebrating the global eradication of polio.
If war is to be the last resort, then understanding must
be the first step.
Illustration # 2: Conquering road rage
Dateline: Boston, Massachusetts. Saturday, April 23,
2005 - A friend phoned and reported the following.
She witnessed an impatient driver, herself, being slowed
down by an elderly person in front of her on Interstate
95 near Boston. Trying to get to her appointment she was
growing more perturbed, now steaming, that this "grammy" was
puttering along like a snail. Leaving the interstate on
the same exit, the problem worsened with "Na-Na" (her
descriptor for the slow-poke). The frail individual, stopped
her car, painstakingly lifted herself from the driver's
side, needing two hands to stand, then carefully made her
way to a "now nearly frantic" driver. Responding
to the motion to open her window to speak with elderly
driver - chaos, so she thought, was near. The slow-driving
senior citizen said that she wanted the driver to be aware
that one of her headlights was burned out and that she
did not want her to have an accident. Then, she simply
returned to her car and drove on.
Someone cared enough to help. Charity is not yet dead,
not by a long shot. Stunned, embarrassed, now guilt-ridden,
the message came through: integrity is alive and well,
even when we might not expect it or deserve it. Good deeds
Surprise your fellow drivers, allow them to sneak in
front of you and relax. You will likely have extended your
trip by no more than few seconds. Getting upset can shorten
your life by a few hours. Do the math. (I promise not to
identify this "culprit" until my speech at
her organization's annual convention in October,
2005. Having made similar blunders, it will be a pleasure
to share the spotlight.)
Illustration # 2a: Road rage, death and integrity - risking
personal involvement to pursue justice with character
A young woman was driving early one morning, at the speed
limit, about 65 miles per hour, only to catch in her rearview
mirror the sight of two cars catching up to her rapidly.
She recognized that the speeding vehicles were weaving
close to one another and she became anxious. Noting the
cars were side by side, one in her lane, she knew to move
to the right to get out of the way. As the vehicles passed
she observed the drivers screaming and gesturing crudely
to one another.
Returning to her lane, and proceeding directly behind
them, only seconds later, one car bumped the other hard
enough to knock it sideways and then smash into it again
creating a horrible out-of control spin and crash. One
car hurled crashing head on into the oncoming lane while
the other driver sped away. Using her cell phone, the alert
observer phoned emergency response professionals at 911
and then increased her speed until the other vehicle could
be identified, including its license number. Returning
to the scene of the accident, she saw police officers removing
dead bodies; trying to reconstruct the accident. She was
able to provide valuable information and learned later
in the same day that the fleeing driver had been apprehended.
How many people would simply drive on? After all, who
would know for certain who was there as a witness? Who
would possibly question a person who simply stopped to
wait for the police to arrive? Who expects modern-day drivers
to place themselves at risk to gather information for those
in law enforcement? Isn't that the job of police
officers? In this instance, the ordinary citizen, a decent
and caring young woman, accepted responsibility for making
the world a better place and went the extra mile, in this
case, probably several miles, at personal risk.
The lawbreaker (involved in a multiple homicide) is in
custody. Whatever this individual says to explain the road-rage
is simply unacceptable. Accidental murder with a motor
vehicle is sickening. But intentional vehicular homicide
The good from this story is the integrity of one young
woman. Her actions are a reminder to be responsive to the
needs of others and a role model to do the right thing,
even when no one is watching.
IF IT IS TO BE; (sometimes this is the
truth) IT IS UP TO ME; AND YES, YOU TOO.
Illustration # 3: Graciousness pays dividends
Dateline: Carmel Valley, California. Thursday, April
27, 2005 -- During heavy rain showers, a business associate
joined me for breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in
Carmel Valley. Following a 90-minute business meeting,
over breakfast, we exited the restaurant. Not yet ready
to dodge the raindrops, I waited while my friend rushed
to his car only to watch him return to the front door,
speechless. Well, not exactly in silence. He had left the
lights on and his battery was dead. Having no jumper cables
in my car, learning he had none with him; the obvious answer
was roadside assistance. Assured he had the situation well
in hand, I headed toward the offices of the Bracher Center
to deal with the day's challenges. Thirty minutes
later, the phone rang and it was the "dead battery" man,
He told me a "Good Samaritan" story, this
time involving the owner-manager of the restaurant. She
suggested he not phone for assistance, but, threw on her
jacket, went out in the increasingly heavy rainstorm, moved
her vehicle which did have jumper cables and made sure
my friend's automobile started. He thanked her, headed
to his next appointment and phoned me with the good news.
Acts of kindness are good to share. When he told me of
his experience, he made my day better and maybe my retelling
it here will make yours better. Graciousness improves lives.
How many more times will this gentleman and others (including
me) choose the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Carmel Valley?
Yes, integrity pays, over and over.
Illustration # 4: Wisdom: the constructive use
Dateline: Universal and Timeless Wisdom -- One evening
a wise grandmother told her grandson about a battle that
goes on inside people. She said, "Dear
child, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is
anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt,
resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other
is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about
it for a minute and then asked his grandmother: "Which wolf wins?" The
grandmother replied, "The one you feed."
Personal application: "LET THERE BE PEACE
ON EARTH AND LET IT BEGIN WITH ME."
You may access my three Day 1 sermons immediately preceding
the week they are formally broadcast: May 29, June
5 and June 12 at http://www.day1.net/index.php5?view=transcripts&tid=500.
Complimentary CD's of each of the sermons are available.
For your copy, phone Day 1 toll free
at: 888-411-3291. Initial feedback from listeners on
the May 29 presentation has been positive. Please
communicate your responses.
Next month, July
, will be devoted to finding
ways to Hit the Ground Running
. In the meantime,
please help us to expand the integrity conversation.