Integrity, like charity, begins at home

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Integrity, like charity, begins at home
Everest Turyahikayo, Manager, Uganda


The media today is awash with factual stories of murder, corruption, theft, and other forms of integrity. Integrity just like charity is planted in children during their non-formal training in families and homes. Psychologists tell us that human conduct is a consequence of two factors. First, the totality of the accumulated learned experiences over a period of time and secondly; the inherited biological characteristics within an individual. Most of the actions performed in ones adulthood were learnt in childhood.
Children who grow seeing their parents fight will likely become fighters themselves. Such children bully their young siblings and other young children on the village. The same behaviour is carried to school and later to society in adulthood. As a consequence, acts of murder increase and tension overshadows communities.
Children grow as they see the extravagant life of their parents amidst scarce family resources. As early as primary school level, some children have observed how their parents fail to pay school fees and other scholastic materials, but manage to drink alcohol daily. Stories of spouses conflicting due to one or both of them misusing family resources are common today. Unfortunately, this happens in the presence of children. Poor accountability is therefore learnt at an early age. Children start by squandering school fees and forging accountability at the end of the term. Some children forge bank slips, class report books and marks obtained at the end of the term. Children engaged in such malpractices are always trained by their friends at school who had learnt the behaviour at home.
By the time a student completes university education, undesirable accumulated behaviour has reached appoint below redemption. After school, students secure jobs and are entrusted with public offices. The behaviour learnt in childhood manifests itself in the actions related to violent character, extravagancy, embezzlement and misuse of public property.
Any fight against current moral decadency in our society should begin from our homes. Parents need to inculcate religious values in their children. The importance of Sunday schools in child upbringing should be underscored. Parents should liase with responsible religious leaders in our communities in indentifying training programmes that will benefit children. These programmes should be outside the school calendar and conducted on weekends at churches.
There is need for a collaborate effort in disciplining children in our communities. If I find my neighbour’s children vandalizing people’s property, let me take an appropriate action immediately. Such action should not infringe on the fundamental rights of the child but should deter the child from engaging in bad behaviours in future.
There is need to strengthen recruitment and selection methods and procedures. At the moment, many important personality traits are ignored at recruitment. Recruiters tend to focus on the academic qualifications and relevant working experience. They ignore the importance of a comprehensive background check prior to appointing new employees. Background checking in recruitment is as important as academic qualifications and working experience. Employers should check for the family background of the job applicant, the conduct of the applicant at the schools attended, credit history, and facts related to the academic papers and working experience presented. Any recruitment process is supposed to be fair and comprehensive. Employers should know that negligent hiring is very costly and can cause closure of any corporate organization.
Lastly, regular performance appraisal should be carried out to assess the performance of public officers. Effective performance evaluation helps employers to know whether they hired the right person. If there are undesirable behaviours that were not detected at recruitment, regular performance appraisal helps to notice such behaviours and take appropriate action.

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