We teach our children to be honest and tell the truth. Oh, how many times did I hear about George Washington and the cherry tree during my elementary schools years. We teach “honesty is the best policy,.” The first ten years of someone’s life is filled with lessons and stories about being honest. Trying to understand what we are taught, what we see, and what we witness the adults in our lives do makes comprehending the concepts of honesty and the truth confusing.
The perspective on truth changes as we get older. The truthful child becomes a target for name calling and shaming. It goes from a simple principle of doing what is right to tell an authority figure the truth and you get labeled a “tattle tale.” You learn quickly that telling the truth, even seeking out the truth comes with consequences. Where once the one telling the lies was punished now those who stand up against lying get punished for a duration much longer than those who were lying.
Entering the adult world of business brings on a more threatening situation for truth seekers. Whistle blowers become the bad guys. People reporting child abuse and violence in the home are seen as the home wrecker for breaking up a dysfunctional family. People who turn in crooks are labeled as snitches. The shaming and blaming from peers can be unmerciful. Some people are bullied so intensely for doing the right thing the only escape in their mind is to end their lives to stop the torment. Honesty is not seen as a virtue in this day and age, it is seen as a weakness, not being a “team player.” It is sad we live in a country where witness protection and whistle blower laws are need to protect those taking a stand against corruption. Why do so many people who speak out end up in harms way or worse, dead? We have a serious problem with handling the truth.
It is time to turn the tables on the subject of honesty and truth. We need to honor and raise high those who are brave to expose injustice. We need to reward integrity.
Some quotes to ponder:
”The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
”A life lived with integrity – even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come.” –Denis Waitley
”The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, – ‘Let there be truth between us two forever more.'” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
”Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” –Thomas Jefferson
” In failing circumstances no one can be relied on to keep their integrity.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
”The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy