At What Cost?

In business, people always talk about the “cost of doing business”. The value associated to the cost of doing business is mostly regarded as necessary. You cannot run a business, expect profit, and not incur cost. You just can’t.

Recent circumstances got me thinking that life is much like a business. We incur costs on a daily basis hoping (or expecting) to gain some type of benefit. Sometimes our life decisions pay off and sometimes they don’t. We continue to invest even with near-empty physical or emotional banks. We take risks – some calculated, some aren’t. And the inevitable – whether we like it or not – eventually we each pay our dues.

I’ve been really trying to teach Oliver about the importance of responsibility and integrity. He can even repeat it verbatim now – ” Responsibility is doing what you’re supposed to” and “Integrity is doing what you’re supposed to even when no one is looking.” My proud mama heart chuckles in silence when he says, “I know Mommy, integrity.” Or he’ll say something like, “I have to do it, it’s my responsibility.”

When he tells a lie or he doesn’t do his chore or he does something that we’ve already told him not to – I get on his case. And then I wonder, how much of this seeming indoctrination will he really imbibe? Am I making the right investment? Is my business model practical? Heck, am I even in the right business?

As grown up’s, how often have we found ourselves questioning the cost of integrity? How many times have we had to pay a price for the truth? And how many of these times have we found ourselves with an amount of regret? Was doing the right thing really all that worth it? I don’t know about you… but I have been there. The cost have been heftier on some more than others.

Do I really want my child to grow up experiencing the same? Of course, as a parent I want to protect my child from what integrity could cause (hurt, pain, alienation, isolation, etc.) and cost (relationships, careers, outlook, hopes, dreams, etc.). But just like in business – when you don’t file your taxes right, the penalty is always much higher than what it would have cost to do it right to begin with. We all reap what we sow and in the end must pay our dues.

So, y-e-s! I am going to continue to invest in integrity for my child and for myself. I’m going to continue to take the risk because my faith tells me it’ll all pay off in the end.

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” – William Shakespeare

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