As I sat in the courtroom today with a friend, I realized how sad life must be to a person who doesn’t value character in themselves or others. Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Our moral compass is often what guides us at times when it might be easier to walk away, look away, or do something that could be considered out of integrity. My dad often shared that a person was only as good as his character and integrity. Integrity was what you did when you knew no one was watching. Bottom-line, I grew up believing and witnessing that it did matter.
Dentistry has, for years, been viewed as an honorable profession. Many of us who serve in this industry we love often find ourselves here because we have a desire to help others. It pulls you in with the smiles and friendly visits that allow us to express concern for one another while doing good and life-changing things in the name of health. One might say the character of most people who chose dentistry is even noble. Like any industry or occupation, some are less than integrity driven. Unfortunately, as a spouse, it’s been devastating to find out that one of your team members your dentist spouse has believed in and invested in wasn’t what you thought. To learn all that you thought you knew about an individual, all that you felt was a mistruth.
Character is critical in our industry. The trusting nature of a dentist can often allow for the perfect target to someone with an ulterior motive or just a tendency for dishonesty. These are the blogs that, honestly, I’m not particularly eager to write. I want people to feel good, have a message of systems for improvement, or perhaps laugh at our weakness. Sad but true, this is no laughing matter. On the road, I hear the stories and know friends robbed or held hostage, and some suffer significant losses. I’ve seen doctors demoralized by the trust they have put into the wrong person.
We are thankful for systems put in place by experts who help us maintain the integrity and trust those in our circle today. Background checks, once a thing only for big business is now standard for our industry. We must do our part to be protected. We can no longer say, “this person feels like a good fit.” Times and people have changed, and so must our systems.
Let’s go back to the courtroom. As I sat and listened to the events of the evening (my friend’s son has lost his life) all I could think of was what might have happened. What might have happened if the young man driving had a moral compass strong enough to guide him to go to the parents of the deceased? To have the integrity to “man up” for his role in that life-changing event that night. Where would things have gone if he had? How would things be different if he had felt that maintaining his good character was critical?
We live in a time that trust, integrity, and a man or woman’s character is critical to the success of our businesses and our lives. Your good or bad character may be one of the last things people remember about you.
For this reason, I am thankful for the DeW crew. Grateful for the character of those in this community who I continue to meet.
And I appreciate all you DeW in life and dentistry.
See you on the road,