We like to lie and that’s the truth. There are more instances of cheating all the time. It could be people who lie to someone and then steal their money. It might be someone who lies on a resume or job application about where they went to school or what skills they have. It just seems like the truth is such a relative term these days. That is a real shame.
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t have to remind one of my children to tell the truth. Often it is after someone comes in crying and then we are trying to figure out what weapon was used. Does this require more attention than just a few hugs? But, even when that is our motivation as parents, at least at the moment, the kids immediately go into self-defense. The choruses of “it wasn’t me” “he did it first” come even before we can determine who is actually at fault.
This is nothing new and will not change in homes with more than one child. What disturbs me more is the amount of academic cheating. If people are cheating in academic settings, then why would they not continue to cheat later on in life? What ever happened to being willing to put in the work in order to get out what you put in? It is still true that you reap what you sow.
The recent case of Harvard students cheating made the news because of the prestige of the institution, but this has been an ongoing problem in schools of all kinds. I talk with high school students who have no problem copying someone else’s work. This is their own poor choice, but parents don’t help when they put such outrageous pressures on students to get good grades and get into a school where their costs are ultimately less because of scholarships awarded. I know my day is coming with my own children, but I know I would rather my children earn their grades through hard work, not through cheating. This needs to be taught early on and reinforced all through life. The temptation is so great to just conform, but we must teach our children how to avoid that. You will only get what you put in. If you do the assignment to get it done, you have finished the assignment. If you put effort into it, do the work and then finish the assignment, you have gained something in it.
When I ran cross country in high school in a small town in Wisconsin, we would run out in the country. If you have ever been out in farm country you know that you can see a long way in front of you. We might run 10 miles for practice on any given day. This was not done to torture anyone, it was done to condition us. Invariably there would be people who would cut corners. They would run through a corn field and hide until the group caught up. At the end of it all, sure they felt better, but they did not make any progress on the sport they were involved in.
So, if cheating and lying is a way of life for so many people, what can be done about it? Harvard came out with some sort of honor code, which is supposed to deter this sort of thing. I doubt it makes any difference. If people want to cheat, they will cheat. Then the real problems come later on when the life of dishonesty piles up and something gives way under the pressure.
My hope would be that I could encourage those that I have influence over to do the hard work in all areas of life. To be honest with themselves, others and their God. Ultimately, the truth is what we are after anyway and the truth will always show up. Unfortunately for some people it is at a most devastating cost that comes due with no warning and demands full, immediate, payment.