Unfortunately, many people’s talk is cheap. They say one thing and then do another which makes their promises as empty as their integrity. If the commitments they’ve made might end up costing them something, they break them without any reservation.
But when Michael Jordan gave his word, he kept it…even if it could cost him millions.
Knowing the rarity and importance of integrity, Senator John Ashcroft wrote a book to his sons in an attempt to help them develop integrity so they could lead honorable lives. Basing much of the book on the lessons he learned from his own father, a pastor, Senator Ashcroft also borrowed examples from the lives of others to make his point to his sons. In the sixth chapter of his book, Lessons from a Father to His Sons, Ashcroft cited Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in the game’s history, as a fabulous example of integrity.
Until 1997 Michael Jordan, indisputably the leading player in the NBA for over a decade, was never the highest-paid player. When asked why he did not do what so many other players do – hold out on their contracts until they get more money – Michael replied, “I have always honored my word. I went for security. I had six-year contracts and I always honored them. People said I was underpaid, but when I signed on the dotted line, I gave my word.”
Three years later, after several highly visible players reneged on their contracts, a reporter asked Michael once again about being underpaid, and he explained that if his kids saw their dad breaking a promise, how could he continue training them to keep their word?
By not asking for a contract renegotiation, Michael Jordan spoke volumes to his children. He told them, “You stand by your word, even when that might go against you.” His silence became a roar.
Some people talk and talk, but their lives end up muting their words. When Michael Jordan honored his words by his lifestyle, his voice was a deafening roar.
What do you sound like?
Lessons From a Father to His Son by John Ashcroft. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998.
Topics Illustrated Include:
Example (Being An)
Taking a Stand
(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)