. . . the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
For any American who had the great and priceless privilege of being raised in a small town there always remains with him nostalgic memories. . . And the older he grows the more he senses what he owed to the simple honesty and neighborliness, the integrity that he saw all around him in those days.
In order to be truly free, you must desire to know the truth more than you want to feel good. Because, if feeling good is your goal, then as soon as you feel better you will lose interest in what is true. This does not mean that feeling good or experiencing love and bliss is a bad thing. Given the choice, anyone would choose to feel bliss rather than sorrow. It simply means that if this desire to feel good is stronger than the yearning to see, know, and experience Truth, then this desire will always be distorting the perception of what is Real, while corrupting one's deepest integrity.
All of great leaders evidence four basic qualities that are central to their ability to lead: adaptive capacity, the ability to engage others through shared meaning, a distinctive voice, and unshakeable integrity. These four qualities mark all exemplary leaders, whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, or race.
Becoming people of integrity and honesty does not occur quickly or all at once, nor is it merely a matter of greater personal discipline. It is a change of disposition, a change of heart. And this gradual change of heart is one that the Lord accomplishes within us, through the power of His Spirit, in a line-upon-line fashion.