The Missing I App – Integrity

i AppI attended a funeral recently and noted a couple of things that seem routine at such events but had me thinking (nothing new here!) – For instance:

  1. As I listened to several people speak about the deceased person’s life, I wondered what happens at people like Bernie Madoff’s or any other criminal’s funeral. Do people ignore the elephant in the room and speak of how wondrous their life was or do they just not say anything? Or perhaps they only let people who are going to say something positive get to the pulpit… Do people really grieve the loss of a soul or are they thanking heaven that someone “corrupt” is no longer on this planet?
  2. Most people wear black – it symbolizes mourning, supposedly. So what if the deceased person loved Bright Orange and I showed up wearing that color? Would I now have the Scarlet Letter adding to my colorful attire?

If you and your family escaped the “I” world this Christmas, you’re part of the distinguished minority that didn’t succumb to the extremely hyped yet very effective marketing strategy of Apple Inc. For all the talk about the economy taking its toll on us, we still manage to stand in long queues to buy these expensive gadgets that purportedly make our life easier. These tell a story of our savvy technology skills and our ability to keep up with the Joneses in terms of material prowess. Not owning an “I” something or other, renders you a “nobody”, at least in the eyes of your peers in middle or high school or even college. Yet with all the Apps readily available to download, I believe the one that could actually make a DIFFERENCE in our lives is still glaringly missing – Integrity.

Whether it’s singing people’s praises on a pulpit or wearing just the right color to an event, we find ourselves doing the supposed “right thing”. Everything is showcased in a way that conforms to the acceptable expectation. No one wants to upset the applecart (pardon the pun) and go where the truth may beckon. We are a society that is so caught up with what looks and sounds right that we do not care any more about whether it IS right or whether WE are right. Our focus and goal has become impressing those around us, scoring Brownie points and seeking notoriety or some other tangible “reward”. A la the Pharisee’s syndrome, we do or don’t do something because someone is watching or we have something to gain. We say the all right words even make promises without having any intention or desire to live up to them. Gone are the days when a person was “good for their word” or where one could actually conduct business “on a handshake”. We may ask “how are you”; but walk away without awaiting the answer. When we say “I’m going to call you or email you or do something for you” we are really just making “small talk”. A priest friend of mine posted this on facebook this week: “The biggest coward is the man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her”. (Applies to women too, of course) Bottom line – we lack Integrity. What’s worse, we EXPECT everyone to be accepting of this standard. We actually become irate if they do not buy into our excuses and there are ALWAYS those! It’s THEIR fault because THEY just don’t understand!!

After my last two, more controversial than usual articles, my daughter asked me “Mummy, why don’t you write NICE articles? You know – that people LOVE to read and won’t debate and those that make everyone just LOVE you?” I mulled over her request and decided I’d rather eat dirt! (Steel Magnolias – anyone?) Conforming to be liked or accepted, while admittedly easier to cope with, just doesn’t come easy to me.

Wondering if I have Integrity, I ask myself the following questions:

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Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: www.mpcimage.com and michaela-noel.com.

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