Essay On Cheating And Lying

In my writings and in my courses, there are two sources that I repeatedly refer to.  The first one is written by Charles Eastman, a Dakota Indian who lived from 1858 to 1939The other source is by Dr. Scott Peck who in 1983 wrote a book titled, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil.  Although the two individuals lived 100 years apart, they both came to the same conclusion, which is, lying is evil, and it causes most of the problems in our society.

 

Charles Eastman put it this way:"Among the Dakotas lying and stealing from other tribal members was a capital offense.  A person who was capable of lying was believed to be capable of committing other cowardly crimes against the tribe and was put to death to prevent the evil from doing more harm.  If a person stole from another tribal member he was forever after called Wamanon (thief) and this distinction followed him for the rest of his life."

 

Dr. Peck, who studied "human evil" said, "People who are evil (liars) attack others instead of facing their own failures" (Now doesn't this sound familiar.).  His study on humankind's age-old problem (evil/lying) makes for fascinating reading.  What Peck studied and what Eastman believed in are basically the same - that lying and evil are synonymous, and when people do not have the courage to stand up to a liar/evil, untold harm could come to a person, an organization, and a society.  Furthermore, when Peck and Eastman talk about lying, they mean much more than telling a fib now and then.  They mean "living a life of a lie," which includes: making promises you have no intention of keeping to get yourself hired for a job you are not qualified for, falsifying your time sheets, stealing from your program, showing up for work and not working once you get there, or getting yourself appointed/elected to a board or committee so you can abuse the authority that will come with that position.  It also means cheating - doing whatever you need to do to win at all costs.

 

A good example of how cheating/lying is evil, and how it can hurt a community on several different levels, happened at our school a couple of weeks ago.  A person involved in our athletics programs stepped forward and admitted he falsified documents in an attempt to cover up for an ineligible student who played sports.  Here is its impact on our students, our school, and our community.

  1. First and foremost, this individual's desire to win at all costs, which led him to lie/cheat, ended up hurting our students most of all.  Students are children, and children trust adults to make the right decisions for them.  In education, this trust is sacred; you do not violate it under any circumstances.  Unfortunately, in this situation, our students are the ones who will bear the brunt of the consequences of the cheating/lying.  Indeed, several people have approached me already, "demanding" to know why our students are the ones being punished, and why the person responsible is not being punished more severely.  To be honest, I do not have a good answer to tell them.
  2. Our school's reputation and to some extent our community reputation has been severely damaged throughout the state.  Some would say, more importantly, throughout Indian Country.
  3. It has destroyed the reputation of the individual primarily responsible for cheating/lying.  No one can do more harm to him than what he has done to himself.  His reputation, his successes, his victories are all tarnished with the brand of a cheater.
  4. While the person responsible for lying and cheating did not publicly blame anyone else for his actions, he has not stepped forward and stopped surrogates from doing it for him.  In essence, he is attacking others through his surrogates instead of facing his own failures.
  5. Finally, and this is what concerns me most, I know that his surrogates know that cheating/lying is evil, and they know who cheated and who lied, yet they attempt to place the blame on everyone but the individual responsible.  This doesn't bode well for our community.  It basically says, "A person who cheats and lies is more admired than a person who doesn't cheat or lie."

We all make mistakes, and we all know nobody is perfect.  When a person makes a mistake, no matter how atrocious, people will forgive and forget about the incident if the person responsible takes responsibility for his/her actions, and doesn't blame other people.  The kicker to being forgiven is to apologize and say you are sorry.  Once this is done, the healing can begin, both for the people who have been wronged, and for the person who has committed the wrong.

When a person refuses to take responsibility and continues to blame other people, when they refuse to apologize and say they are sorry, then the evil will continue to infect the community for a long, long time.

In my opinion, in this situation I have written about in this blog, the individual responsible needs to "MAN UP" and publicly accept responsibility for his action and apologize to the students, school, parents, and community for the great harm he has done to them all.  Only then can the healing begin, and only then can we move on and put this sordid event behind us.

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