Make the choice to take high ground

  • Published
  • By Maj. Kevin O'Connor
  • 56th Maintenance Operation Squadron commander
I've noticed over my past year in command, the same people come out and support their units and personnel, no matter what the occasion.  But in reality, I know these are not the only Airmen in each of these organizations.

Do you, your supervisors or coworkers always support your organization and Airmen during commander' s calls, physical fitness sessions, promotions, retirements, graduations and awards ceremonies?  Or do you see people making up reasons why it would be inconvenient for them to attend, letting excuses drive their actions?

The answers can be tied to the character trait of integrity.

It is a trait that should never be treated like a light switch or compromised.  In an Air Force pamphlet titled "U.S. Air Force Core Values," integrity is defined as everyone's internal 'moral compass' that gives you your inner voice.  It is developed in your childhood, when your parents tried to train you to use self-control.  If you are one of those people who have lacked integrity and self-control in the past, you can make a decision to take the higher ground and change your behavior.

Sometimes it's hard to see examples  of a person with strong integrity in society and in our local communities, especially in the entertainment business.  We live in an era where ethical corrosion is spread in all sectors of society.

However, if you choose your heroes, mentors and friends carefully you could potentially be surrounded by individuals with great and lasting character.  For most, you need look no further than some of our Air Force leaders locally or throughout the world to be influenced in a positive manner.

Here's a little test - watch what happens when people think no one is looking.  Do they follow all of our customs and courtesies and obey all instructions just some that fit their purpose?  Airmen with integrity and character will act on conviction to do the right thing-not simply to get praise or recognition when someone is watching.  Here are some of the important traits tied to integrity found in the AF pamphlet-honesty, courage, responsibility, accountability and self-respect.  Each of these are displayed or embodied when making even the smallest decisions to do what is right.