“Be honest, even if others are not, even if others will not and even if others cannot.”
These words are very poignant if only taken to the heart. Difficult as it is to be honest, it is more difficult to remain honest when all the others are not, will not and cannot. Not having established yet a firm principle against it, the youth are easily dissuaded by the influence of their environment. Seeing their peers and even their elders commit acts of dishonesty and get away with it makes them think that it’s okay to be dishonest as long as you don’t get caught. With this mentality in mind, dishonesty is slowly becoming part of the culture.
As early as their adolescent years, teens practice little acts of corruption. They might not be fooling a government but they are cheating on someone to their advantage. Teens do this at home by crafting simple stories to get extra cash from their parents. What the parents thought was money for their child’s books, projects and other miscellaneous fees was actually spent for other things: for gimmicks, shopping, etc. In school, cheating isn’t a crime to students; it is now rechristened to a more euphemistic term: ‘teamwork’. In a biennial survey of high school students in 2004, it is found out that 35% had copied an internet document for a classroom assignment, 62% had cheated during an examination at school and 83% had copied someone else’s homework at least once. An act which might be just a little embezzlement of money from parents or a little cheating of a test or assignment is still an act of dishonesty and does not make a difference. Remember the saying that “Big things come from small beginnings”? That saying applies not only to small businesses expanding large; it also applies to this. What you thought was just a petty act of dishonesty—too petty that it’s negligible, will actually proliferate and turn into a corruption that will plague a country. In the future, it might not just be a hundred pesos being misappropriated from mother or father’s pocket; it might be millions of pesos or dollars already. It might not just be your parents or your school you’ve cheated; it might be a whole country.
The youth cannot just simply ignore these ‘little acts of dishonesty’. They cannot simply say, “it’s no biggie”, because in the long run, it will be. Dishonesty thrives like a weed that grows faster than you can imagine. When it is constantly practiced, it does not just proliferate; its roots also grow deeper and soon it will be impossible to weed it out from our system.
If dishonesty is the weed that should be uprooted, its opposite, honesty is the seed that should be planted and cultivated. Honesty, as they say, is the best policy. It does not only gain you respect, it also gains you trust which is a rare gem nowadays. For example in business, a man who is relied upon not to cheat his customers will establish a good reputation. People will willingly buy his products or invest in them. In politics, an honest and transparent politician is well-loved by the people. Some people disagree with the saying that honesty is the best policy. These are the people who have found success by cheating and corrupting others. However, in the truest sense, they did not achieve anything at all. What good will success, wealth and other worldly pleasures be if the price is a man’s soul? Most of the time, honesty is obscured by fear and greed, but if we put those aside, we will see that honesty will always lead to the best outcome. That is why it is the best policy. Be it in games, business, relationships and politics.
The seed of honesty is what each one, especially the youth, should plant in their hearts. It is honesty that should be cultivated well whereas the weeds of dishonesty should be uprooted before it proliferates and invades the heart. This means that what we think as little acts of dishonesty should never be tolerated; that these anomalies should not be given a blind eye, and that immediately, they should be corrected. To further cultivate the seed of honesty in our hearts, we also need to fertilize it with important values such as courage, wisdom and love for righteousness. It is important to have the courage to fight for the truth and to stand up for what you believe in, the wisdom to know the difference of good and bad and to make right decisions and the love for righteousness to correct what is needed to be corrected and to seek always the truth. With these ‘nutrients’, honesty will grow and bear its fruits: respect and trust.
|The seed of honesty is what each one,
especially the youth, plant in their hearts.
The Philippines is like an untilled soil. The soil is rich and good, but what only breed in it are weeds. Likewise, the Philippines is rich with natural and human resources but these assets are misappropriated, exploited and corrupted. If only our nation is weeded out of these dishonesties, we would have a clear field to plant seeds of honesty and develop a rich and productive field from a fallow land. With honesty planted in the business sectors, foreign investors will be attracted to invest in the country and the economy will largely improve. With honesty planted in the government, poverty will decline and the standard of living of the many will improve. You can see the development of the country, if instead of breeding dishonesty, we grow honesty instead.
Honesty is the best policy. Let us plant it in our hearts. Let us be honest, even if others are not, even if others will not and even if others cannot.
Note: This was the article I made for “12 Little Things” Book. (The one I was so busy doing that I failed to write the 11th letter of the 30-day challenge) This book is a compilation of essays and testimonies about people’s experience and views on the each of the 12 Little Things. They are giving a slot for RAFI, particularly on the topic ‘Honoring your commitment, be on time’. However, the guide questions given to me were about honesty…. It turned out that the questions were just not revised to fit my topic. Basically, the questions are the same, but it isn’t about honesty, but about Honoring commitment and being on time.
Here were the guide questions:
- What do you think is the biggest challenge most young people nowadays confront with regard to honesty and their response to the many forms of dishonesty they see around them?
- What does honesty mean to you? How do you remain honest despite the presence of so many opportunities to be dishonest?
- How should young people cultivate that value of honesty?
- How will honesty benefit the nation?
I feel very happy and honored to be given this opportunity.