Tuesday, May 17, 2011

honesty is the only policy.

I'll never forget the day I spent two hours in the dean of students' office, crying.

After writing "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" enough times to make my hand hurt, I was done. It was my senior year, and it was definitely not the best time of my life. My superiors (the principals) were making me question why I should ever tell the truth at all, even though the truth was something that was always the most important to me.

It all started on a normal day; I excused myself from my editor duties during newspaper and went to the restroom. If only I hadn't chose that stall that day. Or that bathroom at all.

I selected a stall and realized there was writing on the wall next to the toilet paper dispenser. There's nothing odd about that, right? Wrong.

It was a bomb threat scrawled on the wall. My high school had this same sort of situation in the past. Even though nothing had ever happened, I knew it was a big deal. So I did what I thought was right. I went back to class, told my teacher, who notified the proper heads.

I thought it was fine until I was called down to the office. I was questioned, I was prodded to write sentences, I was flat-out asked if I did it.

I sat there, dumbfounded. "Would I report it to you if I had written it myself?"

Apparently that was completely possible. But what motives would I have to do it?

"I'm sorry, but I'm not the kind of student who would do such a thing," I said. "I reported it because I wanted to prevent something from happening. I'm a good student, I'm editor in chief of the school newspaper, and I love school. This wasn't me."

But there I sat. And the more I sat, the worse I felt. Did they really think it was me, were they just doing their job? At the time I didn't know. And after missing two classes because of the debacle, I became incredibly frustrated. I wanted out. I hated missing class. I wished I had never reported it, but I realize now that I would have eventually wound up in this situation anyway, if I hadn't reported it.

I sat there wondering if the truth was really worth it. I was simply pissed. I felt like I was being punished for doing the right thing. I kept thinking "this isn't fair." But my parents had always drilled into my skull how important honesty is. So I waited it out.

And even after that awkward, embarrassing situation, honesty is still a driving force in my life. Sure, honesty in certain situations can put you on the edge of your seat, make you feel like you want to die, or even kill a few connections. But in the end, isn't it worth it? I did the "right thing," and who knows, maybe it did a little good. The journey can always be tough, but in the end, it's a lot easier than trying to make up for the things you never did or the things you never said.

photo via (we heart it)


Ashton King said...

Love your ending sentence.

So true.

UjjwalRaaj said...

Bang on. Throughout history people have been ostracized, shot, killed, hung,tortured and sent to prison for doing the right thing. But there's no feeling to substitute knowing you've done the right thing.

Erica said...

Wow, that was intense. When you said, "I felt like I was being punished for doing the right thing". That is so true.

I have felt like that so many times in my life. But in the end, doing the right thing, being honest and not backing down is always the best decision. I have learned that the inclination is always to "kill the messenger". At least when smaller minds prevail.


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