“If you cheat in practice, you’ll cheat in the game. If you cheat in the game, you’ll cheat in life.” This is a not so famous quote of Vince Lombardi, a very famous hall-of-fame football coach. He was working with professional athletes and talking about cheating. Any kind of dishonesty that we are willing to do in small situations, we will be willing to do in the bigger parts of our life.
- If you are willing to lie to your friend, mother or father, you will lie to anyone.
- If you are willing to steal for your employer, you will steal from your employer.
- If you are willing to omit the truth from your parents, you will cover actions with omission from anyone else that you feel the need to protect yourself from consequences.
If I lie, steal or cheat it is likely that I will be caught and have to face the consequences that come. If I steal from my friend, I will lose their friendship and trust. If I cheat on taxes, I will have to pay a very high penalty. Those are the natural consequences that occur.
What about the consequence of how I feel? When asked, most kids know that they are going to feel bad, scared, nervous if they lie, cheat or steal. What they do not realize is that being dishonest often enough cauterize our conscious. We will stop feeling the pain of being dishonest. It will become calloused. Soon we are able to do anything without feeling guilt. We begin to lose our ability to care for others and their feelings. Dishonesty may begin by harming others, but ends up making us the victim. We lose respect and trustworthiness, for ourselves and from others.
Being honest is the best way. We do not worry about getting in trouble. We worry about doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do!