Subject: Social Studies
Topic: Integrity, Contentment, Discipline and Courage
Learning Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:
- State the meaning of integrity and contentment.
- State the attributes of contentment
- Identify the consequences of lack of contentment.
Integrity is the act of being firm in one’s moral principles. An individual who has integrity will stand by the truth even in the face of threat and disfavour. It means a refusal to engage in lying, shifting blames or other behaviours that involve attempts to evade accountability. Integrity is holding firm to one’s values. It is about doing what you said you would do when and how you said you would do it. Integrity is knowing what is important to you and living your actions accordingly.
In Nigeria for instance, there is a code of conduct for public officers. Judicial officers such as justices, judges and magistrates swear an oath before assuming office. In taking that oath, they promise to be fair and just in their assessment of cases. In particular, executive officers like the President of Nigeria and the governor of a state also take an oath to abide by th code of conduct of public officers, to discharge their duty according to the law, and to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. Any pubilc officer who is able to keep to this oath of office, especially under pressure, is said to have integrity. Pressure can come from relatives and friends who would want a public officer to bend the rule in their favour. Pressure may also come from corrupt people who may want to bribe them with money. If they are able to withstand these pressure and uphold justice and fairness, then they have demonstrated an act of integrity. Thus, integrity is a very difficult value and requires courage, wisdom and contentment for it to grow.
People of Integrity in Nigeria.
Nigeria has great men and women of integrity who have held high positions without compromising their principles. A good example is Mallam Aminu Kano, a politician and educationist, known for his concern for the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. Another man of integrity is Dr. Tai Solarin of the famous May Flower School in Ikenne, Ogun State. As a social critic and educationist, he persistently called for public accountability and investment in the development of the young. Mokwugo Okoye of the famous Zikist Movement was a nationalist who suffered severe consequences from the colonial authorities as a result of his call for an end to colonial rule. More recently, there have been some government agencies that have been headed by people who have demonstrated exceptional integrity. The leadership of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shown industry, honesty and transparency in their fight aganist the menace of drug counterfeiting even in the face of threats to their lives and those of their family members.
There are men and women who have been the conscience of the nation in various moments in Nigeria’s history. These men and women are to be emulated by all. For our society to be humane and caring, we need more men and women of integrity who can speak the truth to those in government on behalf of the voiceless and powerless. And it is only men and women of integrity that can speak the truth in a consistent manner and long enough for those in authority to listen and act.
To be content means that one is satisfied. Thus, contentment means peaceful satisfaction with one’s situation in life. Contentment is a state of mind in which one’s desires are confined to one’s lot whatever it may be. This means a person is able to experience happiness even while hoping for a better future. It arises from an inward disposition, and it is the offspring of humility and of an intelligent consideration of the goodness and kindness of divine providence. Contentment is not to be confused with enjoyment, although the two have a lot in common. Contentment implies that we are not greedy. Greed may lead to cruelty and sorrow. Contentment is opposed to envy and anxiety over the future.
Attributes of Contentment
Patience is the key to contentment. Anyone who is not content with what he or she would not be content with what he or she would like to have. Contentment is the key to fulfillment, freedom and security. Whereas a covetous heart is never satisfied, a contented heart is always secure.
To be content is not the absence of ambition. A person can be extremely well motivated, with a great personal drive, and still be content. The English writer, William Shakespeare, in the third part of Henry the sixth, pictures the king wandering in the country. The king informs two gamekeepers that he is a king. One of them asks: ‘But, if thou be a king, where is the crown? Listen to the King’s answer:
‘My crown is in my heart, not on my head,
Not deck’d with diamonds and Indian stones.
Nor to be seen, my crown is call’d content
A crown it is that seldom King’s enjoy.
Consequences of Lack of Contentment
In many cases, it is lack of contentment that leads to greed. Greed may also cause people to steal. When people are not contented, they want everything for themselves and become envious of those who have those things. This may also lead to unhealthy rivalry and corrupt practices. In the case of corrupt practices people try to cheat in order to satisfy their desires. Lack or contentment also leads to prostitution, armed robbery and cheating.
I hope you have learnt some act of integrity and contented with what you have? Take the following as reviewed questions.
- What does it mean to have integrity?
- What is contentment?
- State the attributes of contentment
- Identify some consequences of lack of contentment.
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