Integrity is a strong wholeness. The fabric of the being of a thing can't be broken. A bucket with one hole in it is lacking integrity. It's not a good bucket. A frayed rope lacks integrity. No matter how long or strong the rest of the rope is, that frayed part keeps it from being a good rope.

In people, integrity requires some degree of reliability and honesty (the more the better). Part of the integrity of some of the young adult and teen unschoolers I know comes from their having grown up relatively undamaged. They have a wholeness most young people are never allowed to have, or which is destroyed by the realities of school's grading system and its too-glorified "socialization." Here I would like to collect thoughts on and accounts of integrity. —Sandra Dodd

It's exactly why every person who hopes to have a positive influence on any other person needs to figure out how to find and maintain as much integrity as possible.


This is a quote I will type out and tape around my house! I have been following the thread, despite no current WoW players in this home. For me, his principle ties so much of unschooling, which ties together living well.

This also addresses the root of the rut I fell into recently, and am climbing back from steadily. I am even thankful for the recent 'rut' and all the things I learned and continue to learn about integrity and what that means for me in relationship to others.


These hats are in a museum in Pennsylvania, in a reproduction milliner's shop.

Is it "a real" shop? Are the hats "really" old? (The tools are, and some of the hats might be.)

It was honestly created for a purpose, as a display, though. It is honestly being useful as it is.

Recently Just Add Light had a quote and link to something by Pam Sorooshian about whether one should be a child's friend, or parent. Pam knows one should be both, and explained that elegantly.

I was with a group of home ed families in France, some unschoolers, others in the various stages of consideration of unschooling, and someone asked me to tell how I am as a woman. Bea Mantovani was the translator, and said the question didn't really translate. The questioner tried to clarify. She said I had spoken of my husband, and of being a mother, but how was I as a woman, separate from that?

I remember my confusion better than my response. One thing I said was that I AM a mother.

I suspected, and it was later confirmed, that it was a socio-political question, a feminist concept about identity above and beyond motherhood. But the question sets motherhood in a low position, if only the brightest and the best exist apart from and outside of that, and if to have no answer made me unaware or less whole.

For one thing, though, I was in France speaking to people because I had been invited to do so. I've written thousands of thousands of words about parenting and how children can exist in a peaceful world of easy growth in all directions.

I'm a changing-the-world woman. But even that didn't answer the question, because it still was an extension of mothering, which I had explained had involved sharing and modeling since I nursed babies at La Leche League meetings.

I would most like to be known as a woman of integrity, and for that to be true, I can't deny or reject any aspect of my being. I can't divide myself into parts and still be one integral whole. Any hat I might put on is still on my own head.

From another page, about radical unschooling as opposed to "just unschooling':
Not the kind of "I was unschooled one summer" or "We unschool science and history, but not math or reading" kind of so-called unschooling.

REAL, deep, committed, clear, purposeful, focussed, heartfelt whole unschooling.

If it moves from the realm of rules to principles, then how could one really compromise without also compromising integrity?

That's where I am with it, and have been for many, many years. I can't NOT unschool because it has become the way we live and think and treat one another.

From a page on unschooling as a spiritual practice;
Is that spiritual? I think so, but it's not in the prayer/spirit vein. No angels are alighting. It's a change of mental posture and attitude, which is designed to improve the thinking, decision-making basis [i.e. philosophy], and the integrity of the individuals. That changes behavior. Or sometimes people change behavior without really believing there's going to be a resulting change in belief or others' reactions, and when the reaction comes, the belief follows, and the transformation starts cookin'.

Affection and Esteem

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Something that has rattled around in my head for years is the line, "You're the parent, not their friend."

I was just reading a news article and someone was quoted as saying: "Your kids don’t need a 40-year-old friend. They need a parent."

What a tragic dichotomy that one little line sets up!

Every single time that line has ever entered my head, it was leading me in the wrong direction. Every time.

What is a friend? I'm not talking about the schoolmates teenagers go out partying and drinking with. Not talking about the 5-year-old kid your child happens to play with at the park that day. I'm talking about real friendship.

1. a friend: one attached to another by affection or esteem

Knowing what I know now, with my kids grown, I strongly feel that that that one line, which permeates parental consciousnesses, should be quickly and actively contradicted and rooted out like a pernicious weed every single time it sprouts up.

Instead of "You're the parent, not their friend," substitute, "Be the very very best friend to them you can possibly be."
—Pam Sorooshian

photo by Sandra Dodd

"I liked that friendship a great deal at one time, but I like my children's future and my integrity much more." —Sandra Dodd

"There were also incredible acts of integrity, honesty, and selflessness; and these events somehow kept me motivated enough to complete my four years and graduate." —Ben Lovejoy

"...she was actually really proud of my daughter for having the integrity to stand up and say she was involved and that she was sorry. She told me she was glad that her dd had a friend like that." —Angela

"Many kids who are never spanked, but are raised by very "present" parents who have pretty high expectations for kids to behave with integrity—are just amazingly kind and sweet and wonderful and a joy to interact with." —Pam Sorooshian

"If you answer every question with honesty you never have to be nervous about the next question because you already know the answer. Take the chance of being uncomfortable for those few minutes of honesty. It's worth the discomfort for the peace and confidence and integrity it will build in you." —Deb Lewis

Priorities avoid Antagonism (Us vs. Them)