All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Integrity, Rationalizations and Little House on the Prarie

I am certain that many of those who argue for sustainable living have a rose-colored view of how such a community might look. It's almost like nostalgia for a time period that existed onscreen during Little House on the Prarie episodes and The Waltons re-runs. I do think that Michael Landon glossed over many of the harder aspects of frontier living in his version of Walnut Grove. Scarlet fever, forced migration of Native Americans, and infant deaths are just a few of the things he missed. I'm sure there were more important things to deal with than that old biddy, Mrs. Oleson and her hen-pecked husband, Nels.

I do have a longing for a time when people kept their word. They didn't need contracts, or lawyers, to keep them on the straight and narrow. There was this idea of integrity--or honor, if you will. People didn't rationalize their wrongdoings. I love that moment in The Big Chill, when Jeff Goldblum says, "Don't underestimate rationalizations. Just show me one person who can get through the day without a great, big, juicy one." Man, we all do it! We all have reasons why we can't be the best possible people---people of integrity and honor.

"It's my upbringing."
"It's my situation."
"He can afford it."
"I'm too busy."
"I didn't mean to."
"I've got problems."

It's an insidious road to hell. Rationalization Road. It's paved with illusions about why you just can't keep your promises even though you meant to and you are still a good person even though your actions aren't good.......What would Jesus do?

Imagine a community of the past where if you showed yourself to be a person without integrity there was no place for you within the community. The traveling flim-flam man had to travel because those who lived in the community would exact justice if they had to do so. People had "hand shake" deals. Imagine a place where the community cared if you had personal integrity. Imagine a place where you cared if you had personal integrity.

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