“The essence of honesty and integrity is not the words you use, it’s the message you convey.”

Honesty. It’s something that has always been of extreme importance to me in life. Perhaps being raised by a father who was in the FBI and who valued absolute honesty without exception had something to do with that, but I know that I was raised to value honesty and integrity above all else. I tried to raise my children with that same value for honesty as well. The rule in our house was that as parents we would forgive anything if the kids were honest about it, but if they were dishonest with us the consequences would be far more serious, and trust, once broken, would take years to fix. We also talked a lot about what it meant to be honest.  When my kids were growing up I showed them a 2-minute video clip of a very famous former high school rugby coach named Larry Gelwix as he was explaining what it means to truly be honest. He shares, “The essence of a lie is not the words you choose, but the message you convey.” That is such an important distinction for all of us to remember. Watch this quick clip and you will see how powerful his short message is:

It is so important for us to set an example of honesty in our own lives, and it’s important to raise our children to understand the importance and value of being honest in their lives. I feel so blessed that I was raised to value honesty and I feel even more blessed that my children chose to embrace and value honesty and integrity in their own lives because it has turned them into incredible adults who are respected by all who know them.

We should never discount how valuable our integrity is – it is our most valuable asset in our professional lives and in our personal lives. We can’t allow ourselves to ever rationalize being dishonest, even on the little things in life. The more we are honest in all of our dealings, both in the words we say AND in the messages we convey, the more genuine confidence we will have, and the more confidence others will have in us. I have said it before and I will say it again, “Success will come and go, but integrity is forever.” So never trade yours for anything.

Have a great Monday everyone!

~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Jane Anderson says:

    I like the way he explains this. I think this is what my dad used to call the sin of omission. You tell the truth in one statement but omit a fact that makes it the whole truth. My dad was a minister. 🙂 That’s cool that your dad was in the FBI. I have a nephew in the FBI. 🙂 The first year I chose my word to live by, it was integrity. My favorite word is JOY. My second favorite word is integrity.

  • Bryan says:

    This is a fantastic post. Thank you for sharing. Larry has become a good friend of mine, who has greatly impacted my life. My father, like yours, was in the FBI and he and my mother taught me and my siblings similarly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.