No legacy is so rich as honesty.

William Shakespeare

Honesty lives in truth and is loved, cherished, and protected beyond measure by the virtuous person.

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“Truth is proper and beautiful at all times, in all places.” –Frederick Douglass

May 15, 2022

The Importance of Honesty, by Harvey McKay

On the outskirts of a big city stood an old temple, where young boys would come to live and learn from an old monk. One day, the monk gathered his students and told them: “I am growing old and slow. I can no longer provide for the needs of the temple as I once did. I want you to go into the city and follow the rich people. When no one is looking — and only when no one is looking — you must steal their purses. That way, we will have enough money to keep our school alive.”

The boys said in disbelief: “But master, you have taught us that it is wrong to steal.”

The monk replied: “It would be wrong to steal if it were not absolutely necessary. Just remember, you must not be seen!”

The boys looked nervously among themselves and quietly began to leave. However, one student remained, so the monk asked him, “Why did you not go with the others?”

“I heard master,” said the boy quietly. “But you said that we had to steal without being seen. I know that there is no place on Earth that I would not be seen, for I would always see myself.”

“Excellent!” exclaimed the monk. “That is just the lesson I hoped my students would learn. Run and tell your friends to return to the temple before they get us into trouble.”

Honesty is and will always be the best policy. Telling the truth at all times matters in so many ways, from building your reputation to improving your relationships. Your word must be your bond.

Maybe that is why Thomas Jefferson said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Or take a page from our first president, George Washington, who famously said he could not tell a lie. Honest Abe Lincoln was also a paragon of truthfulness. As we celebrate Presidents Day, these are role models to uphold.

If truth ever stands in your way, you are headed in the wrong direction.

Every time dishonesty wins, it gets harder to convince our children that honesty is the best policy. Complete honesty in little things is not a little thing at all.

Think about your own dealings with businesses, organizations and even personal friends. Do you patronize a store that makes promises they don’t keep or that sells products that don’t perform as expected? Would you donate to a charity that invests more in promotion than in helping others? Do you continue friendships with people who lie to you?

Of course not. As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Honesty is so important that there’s actually a day to celebrate it: April 30, 2022, is Honesty Day. M. Hirsh Goldberg, author of “The Book of Lies: Schemes, Scams, Fakes and Frauds That Have Changed the Course of History and Affect Our Daily Lives,” created the day in the early 1990s. He placed it strategically on the final day of April to contrast with April Fools’ Day (lies!) at the beginning of the month.

Here’s a fish story that can actually be believed.

After fishing all day and not getting so much as a nibble, a fisherman went back to shore, loaded his boat on the trailer and began the drive home. Before reaching home, he stopped at a grocery store advertising fresh fish.

“Throw me a dozen of the biggest fish you have,” he said to the woman at the counter.

“Throw them? Why?” she asked.

“Because I’m going to catch them. I may be a lousy fisherman, but I’m not a liar.”

Mackay’s Moral: Only those on the level can climb the highest peaks.

Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.”

July 16, 2021

A short story on the honesty of a young boy was run in the Sports Illustrated in 1989. 7-year old Tanner Munseywas playing first base during a T-Ball game in Wellington, Florida. He tried to tag a runner going from first base to second but couldn’t. The umpire, although called the runner out. Tanner then went to the umpire and told her that he had not succeeded in tagging the runner. She reversed her call.

Two weeks later, in another match, the reverse happened. This time Tanner had tagged the player but the umpire called him safe. She looked at Tanner and asked if he tagged the runner. He told her he had. She immediately called the player out. When the audience retorted, she told them that she believed the kid’s honesty enough and told them about the previous game’s incident.”

July 16, 2021

“Bobby Jones was a golf player who played national and international matches about a century ago. He was known for his honesty and sportsmanship.

At the U.S. Open in Boston, 1925, he hit his ball on the 11th hole. He, although, insisted that he had moved the ball slightly by accidentally clipping the grass. He told the officials that he had violated Rule 18 (moving the ball), but they didn’t agree. He stayed firm and they finally had to accept. He lost the game by the same margin, one stroke. The sportswriters praised him for his honesty to which he replied, “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks”.”

     —Author’s note:  As I read the little story above about Bobby Jones, I was reminded how often and how much one virtue is so tied together with other virtues. Bobby Jones was Honest. He showed Integrity. He was real, Authentic. He was Transparent. I sat and contemplated these virtues, trying to think of a really great personal story where I too portrayed the virtues of Honesty, Integrity, Authenticity and Transparency.  I couldn’t think of a single one!  Ouch. I am feeling shame, guilt, and embarrassment at the many times when I was dishonest and denied it or tried to cover it up.  But then again, it’s never too late to start living the virtues. And maybe that’s what I am doing with this written confession!