Ethical Edge

By Russell Williams

Ethical Edge

Lessons From Dad

The Ethical Edge
The Art of Integrity

Author, National Speaker, Founder
ProActive Coaching

My dad passed away last July at the age of 96. He was part of what is called the Greatest Generation.   He was a son of a fireman and a hotel maid and the second of four children. They lived through the Great Depression.  He was one of thousands of men to voluntarily raise their hands and to be honored to serve their country.  His life was not easy but it was simple.  The times made life challenging but the answer to every challenge was: what is the right thing to do?  What a simple way to live life.

Their generation was stoic, quiet, independent, strong willed and humble.  Words were few, so most of the lessons taught were done by modeling.  When he was 88, we built a guest house for my parents and they lived most of the rest of their days with us.  What a blessing.

When my mom needed 24 hour medical care, we moved her to a small care facility close to our house.  My dad went to see her everyday and would spend hours talking to her, holding her hand, reading or singing to her.  The young care givers would come out of their room with tears in their eyes and ask, “Where can we find a man like that”?  When she died, they had been married and in love for 71 years.

Many of our afternoons were spent together in front of a fire.  Some days he would sit in absolute silence; other days he talked my ears off.  These conversations were priceless and clarified the lessons I had witnessed growing up.  Here are three of those lessons…

Be responsible for yourself, never complain, never make excuses, finish strong… Work hard.  Do your job.  Do it well and be thankful you have it.  There is no need to talk about your accomplishments.  Don’t complain about your health, your life or other people.  What you start, finish (including 71 years of loving marriage).

Give more than you get and spend less than you make …service is everyone’s responsibility.  When other families are struggling, help behind the scenes.  Run toward commitment and responsibility.  Stay out of debt.  Pay for everything on time.  Money is important but the things that money can’t buy are more important.

Make Integrity your foundation…your words and actions need to always be in alignment.  It is difficult to ever recover from a lie.  Your “yes” or “no” must mean exactly that.  A handshake must be honored.  Adjust your actions to meet your principles, instead of adjusting your principles to meet your actions.

Even though we are losing the men and women from this generation; hopefully our country never loses the lessons they lived.  Thanks Dad.

Bruce can be contacted at BBrown8164@aol.com.


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