I grew up in deep poverty in the city of St. Louis. In the first
grade, my mother typically sent me to school with a cold
fried egg sandwich, or something even less appetizing, in a
crumpled, grease-stained lunch bag that we reused. I’d sit
with the other kids at noon on a bench against the wall in the
gymnasium, watching them eat their lunchmeat sandwiches,
potato chips, Twinkies, and fruit while I hoped they did not
notice my meager meal.
One day I decided to steal another kid’s lunch. I was
delighted to find chips, a snack cake, and a well-made
sandwich lovingly cut in half diagonally. I tried to enjoy my
meal as I looked about nervously to see if anyone had a clue
of my crime.
Not long after, I did it again. But this time I looked
up from my stolen food to see the teacher walking along
the benches with the robbery victim, scanning each child’s
lunch to see if the boy could spot the meal his mother had
packed. For me, a lifetime passed as they walked slowly by
me, looking at my food without comment.
At the age of six, I knew it was wrong to take another kid’s
lunch, even if I was poor and hungry. As I looked around the
gymnasium after the teacher had passed, the room was no
longer filled with my playmates. They were now children
whose values I had betrayed, who might find out what I had
done. I felt like a lost soul.
I never stole a lunch again.
1. Tell the truth.
“Accordingly, we will: Conduct ourselves in the
highest ethical manner in all relationships with
peers, superiors and subordinates; Be honest and
truthful in our dealings with each other, and with
those outside the Navy.”
Core Values of the United States Navy
In reviewing men’s codes of conduct throughout history,
the one rule most of them have in common is to tell the truth.
Telling the truth can require more courage than taking
a beating or even taking a bullet. In fact, many a man has
committed suicide because he was not brave enough to face
people with the truth.
Honesty is the building block of human relations. Without
it, all else crumbles.
Bosses depend upon employees to tell them facts so
they know what is going on in a business.
Wives need correct information from their husbands on
all kinds of matters: How much did you make this week?
When are you coming home? Where are you? Are you
picking up the kids?
Girlfriends need certainty in a relationship and that
starts with a man telling the truth to those many questions:
Will you call me tomorrow? Where were you last night? Are
you dating anyone else?
Men who lie or tell half-truths are looked down upon by
other men. And they are disliked by most women. One lie
can ruin a relationship for years or even forever.
Men who tell the truth are prized, especially if they
always tell the truth. That’s the person you can truly have
confidence in. That’s the person who will give you a straight
answer, even if it makes him look bad.
A liar puts others at risk. He gives them false information
to operate on. He wastes their time as they end up having
to track down the true data. He betrays their trust in him.
Lying is, in fact, an act of cowardice. People do it because
they are afraid to face the consequences of telling the truth.
Sometimes telling the truth hurts you because you
have to admit a wrongdoing or a mistake. You could have
to take the blame and it could cost you money or time to
fix the mess you made if you say what really happened—for
example, in a car accident. An honest man has the courage to tell the truth anyway. He knows that by being honest he
makes the world a better place. He knows that lying will
create bitterness and upset in other people who would no
longer trust him. He also knows that honest behavior sets
an example to the people he is involved with so, hopefully,
they, too, will be inspired to tell the truth.
Many people say they want peace in their lives or a
peaceful world. Peace starts with telling the truth. There is
no peace amongst liars because they don’t trust each other...