Is honesty and telling the truth so hard to do?

“Honesty is the best policy.”

Those words were something that many of us grew up hearing and believing in as a way to live your life. If you were honest with people and treated them decently, the odds were good things would go well in your life.

Likewise, those of us who fall into the older age category like myself can remember the famous story we were all taught in elementary school about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree and then uttering the famous words, “I cannot tell a lie I did cut it.”

Corny, I know, but message  stuck with many of us.

It’s quite a far cry from today’s world where even the youngest kids seem to know the phrase, “Don’t say anything until your lawyer shows up,” instead of the former, “I cannot tell lie.”

As for honesty, no one ever wants to step up to the plate and admit, “I screwed up and it was my fault” anymore. The mode for today is blame someone else and hope everyone jumps on that bandwagon and runs with it.

Doubt me?

Well look at the most recent school shooting. If you don’t remember what one I am talking about its understandable because they are happening so fast these days that it is hard to keep up with them. I am talking about the one in Florida.

When it first happened everyone pointed their finger at the FBI for dropping the ball after they had tips on this guy. Then the National Rifle Association was at fault followed by the sheriff’s deputy and then the whole sheriff’s department.

I am amazed that some genius hasn’t pointed a finger at the kids yet and said something absurd like they are to blame for gathering in the same place and making easy targets for this lunatic.

It’s a strange world we live in these days, and it just seems to get more unusual and sick by the moment.

What seems to continue to be missing from the discussion is — quite frankly — the discussion and the willingness to sit down and fix the problems. What that translates to  is leadership is non-existent today in this country at pretty much any level.

If America had strong leaders people could rally around it might make a difference and inspire some change in this country.

Everyone today seems to be more concerned  in finding someone to blame than fixing the problems and doing what is right. But what makes it more difficult to fix is no one wants to be honest and no one wants to admit they might be part of the problem.

It’s easier to lie. How many times have we heard the phrase “I didn’t do it” and “they are lying” from “our leaders.” Cover-ups, spin and damage control are the the route they take instead of stepping forward and admitting we need to change.

Once again, leadership, and a lack of it.

That is why it is refreshing that the kids of America are standing up after this last shooting and saying “enough is a enough.”  For several generations,  since the Vietnam era, the voice of American youth disappeared and that was sad to see because that is how social change comes about.

It brings to mind a phrase from a book that is often forgotten and should be opened a few more times that goes something like “And a little child shall lead them.”

These kids are our future, and what they have to say is important. To see them this engaged makes me believe there really is hope for America and the future. What’s more, in the past week or so I have witnessed more leadership qualities that has come out of this age group than we have witnessed from our so-called leaders in Washington for many years.

So maybe it’s important that we remember that honesty is the best policy, and if we admit our faults instead of lying about them maybe we can fix what is wrong with this country before it totally slides down the drain.

Hopefully, it’s something that can start before I…see you next Wednesday.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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