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Live With Integrity: The World is Watching

In this age of instant information, any ethical misstep by a well-known person is just a click away from our desktop. That's why, after watching the behavior of the former heads of scandal-plagued companies such as Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco, many people now find it difficult to trust any corporate CEO. And why, after listening to the campaign gaffes of a few disgraceful politicians, it's easy for a weary public to imagine that, deep down, everyone in Congress is a racist. The barrage of news stories reporting the transgressions of powerful people is creating an overwhelming generalization among the American population: that is, that no one is trustworthy.

What can a single person do to change that mindset? As a young boy, Benjamin Franklin obtained a battered copy of the book, Essays to do Good, and later attributed his virtuous conduct to the lessons he found in its pages. One passage he valued stated, "a little man may do a great deal of harm; and pray, why not a little man do a great deal of good?" Consider this argument in light of today's ethical environment: if the behavior of a small group of business and political figures can cast suspicion on the integrity of an entire nation, why can't the actions of a small number of morally strong individuals restore the republic's faith that people are generally good?

By choosing to live with integrity, you'll help to fight back the onslaught of unethical behavior. You might not get the publicity afforded business scoundrels and nasty politicians. But those close to you will notice, and you'll succeed in proving that there are still honorable people in the world.

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This is very similar in concept to St. Therese's "Little Way". By doing the little things, you will be noticed. Little people doing little things can change everything.

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