I’m not sure where I first heard this, but I’ve used when teaching a Jr. class thousands of times. I usually say it just before some kind of class competition when I want the honor system to come into play. When I have time, I often tell a story to help my students understand the importance of honesty. This is my favorite one.
From the time I was 4 years old till around the age of 10, I had two best friends. Their names were Mark and Bruce. We were fast friends. We did everything together. One of our favorite pastimes was playing with Hot Wheels. We would spend hours building elaborate racetracks and then race our cars around them. Mark had by far the coolest car. It was a red Corvette. All three of us loved that car.
One time, I was at the grocery store with Mark and his mother. We were in the checkout line when a lady ahead of us dropped a dollar bill as she was walking out of the store. Before I knew it, Mark picked up the dollar bill, walked up to the lady and tapped her on the shoulder. He tried to give her her dollar bill back, but she wouldn’t take it. She was impressed with his honesty and wanted to reward him by letting him keep the dollar. Usually, the benefits of being honest aren’t that clearly revealed. But in this case, I saw in a flash what happens when you do the right thing… and it had a real impact on me.
Now let’s get back to the Hot Wheels story. A few days after the grocery store inc
ident, Mark and I were busy building another race track in his room. Much to our disappointment, when the track was finished and we were ready to race, we could not find that red Corvette…… anywhere. Assuming that it was just misplaced, we played on without it.
A couple of weeks later, I was at Bruce’s house playing… You guessed it…Hot Wheels. We decided to build the biggest Hot Wheels racetrack ever. Bruce had a bunch of extra track in his closet and asked me to get some. Guess what I found upon rummaging through the boxes? You guessed it again…the red Corvette. Our eyes met just as I pulled that car out of the box. With the look he gave me,I knew without a doubt that he had taken Mark’s car. He gave me some excuse, but we both knew he was lying.
The three of us continue to be friends until our family moved away several years later, but things were different after that. Because of the dollar bill incident in the grocery store, I pretty much trusted Mark in any situation, but I would never again truly trust Bruce. One little three dollar toy car had changed our relationship forever.
To be honest in little things is no little thing. Thanks Mark AND Bruce for the great lesson.