Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Truth's Consequences ; Originally Published in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Truth's Consequences ; Originally Published in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

I found out something important about honesty early in life. On a lazy summer day when I was about 10 years old, a friend and I wandered into the neighborhood drugstore to pick up something for her mom. While the druggist was in the back of the store, my friend began to examine the contents of the candy rack. Suddenly, she grabbed a package of Lifesavers and stuck them in her pocket. I was terrified we would be found out, but when the druggist returned, he sent us off with a friendly wave.

At a safe distance away, my friend took the candy out of her pocket, peeled the wrapper, and handed me a piece. With only a slight hesitation, I popped it in my mouth. I enjoyed the candy, but I knew that what she had done was wrong. I felt guilty. I was beginning to understand that "sharing the spoils" with my friend made me dishonest, too. The memory of that event burned into my consciousness so powerfully that I vowed never to steal, nor be a part of a "heist," again.

While it may be common for kids to make the kind of mistake my friend and I made, the tendency to deceive appears pretty frequently in adults, too. Tuning in to current news reports, you see quite a number of lapses of integrity. One would hope that the level of honesty would be "kicked up a notch" in the consciousness of leaders. The worlds of corporations, politics, law, journalism, need honesty and integrity.

With the media's constant stories of deceits and crimes committed by community, state, and national leaders, people may feel there's nothing they can do. But I once had an experience that convinced me that each of us can make a difference right where we are.

My husband and I were shopping in a crowded store, waiting in line to buy a gift. A young couple in front of us were delighting over her engagement ring. The woman turned to us to show us how beautifully it sparkled.

The wait was long, but I was enjoying this couple's obvious joy. Then the woman picked up a lipstick from the table next to us. She examined the lipstick and then dropped it into her coat pocket. Well, it wasn't Lifesavers, but the situation was pretty similar. I knew I should do something, but I didn't want to call attention to this couple or get them into trouble. …

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