Family Ethics Training

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My son was pretty nonchalant coming in the door from school today. He told me about homework – he needs to finish a paper on an biography of Stephen Spielberg, couple of sheets of math problems, and that's it – and then about what happened in math class. "I found a fiver" – like it was no big deal. I asked, "you found a what?" – "A fiver, five bucks, on the floor in math class", and he pulled it out of his pocket to show me his newfound bounty.

Then I burst his bubble.

"Son, you realize that isn't yours."
"Wha-?" – that's a real word for him, "wha" without the "t", pronounced "whuh", rhymes with "duh". His jaw dropped, not grasping the concept.
"That dollar used to be someone else's. Someone has lost five dollars."
"I don't know who lost it."
"I know, but someone did – so it's not yours."
"But how do I find out who lost it? Everyone will want it."
"You need to give it to the teacher – maybe she lost it. Maybe someone has asked her about it already. But it's not yours until you try to find who lost it."

His jaw dropped again. He couldn't get his mind around giving it up being the "right thing". I think he's beginning to see – "imagine if you had lost five dollars, and you'd want someone to try to find you, right?" – and I see that it's hurting him to think that he's now the one "losing" five dollars.
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7 thoughts on “Family Ethics Training

  1. BJ says:

    Having been an employee of an elementary school district I would find 5s, 10s, and yes even 20s on the ground all the time. It was my duty to either hold on to it or even turn it in to the front office. It would stay there for a month before it got turned back over to me. I would then let the office keep the money for supplies.
    Believe it or not it was always tempting just to keep the money. Noone would know right? Well, God would know. So, I always turned it in.
    I must’ve done something right. Because everytime my son at his high school finds a 5, 10, or 20, he turns them into the front office. They hold them for a month and if after a month if not claimed my son then is rewarded with whatever he found and turned in for his honesty.
    God Bless,
    BJ

  2. Thanks – I’m thinking to where/when he might have had to make a decision like this before. First time as far as I can tell. He’s going to turn it in tomorrow – might go ahead and get him to email teacher tonight ๐Ÿ™‚ to make sure he goes through with it.

  3. Kyle says:

    Man, I lost 5 dollars today!
    Just kidding. With the economy as it is, that 5 bucks may mean the world to some kid,(Or teacher). Good job turning it in!
    BTW, Glad to see the Morris Island Lighthouse, one of the grandest sights in S.C., in the background of your pic.

  4. George says:

    Doah! Kyle beat me to the punch with the “I lost $5” joke. Good job with the whole honesty thing.

  5. Good for you. I hope you also return to the grocery store when you realize you’ve been undercharged. ๐Ÿ™‚
    This was really nice to see.

  6. Rick says:

    Undercharged? No worries of that ๐Ÿ™‚ – but yes. My big public thing is in tipping waitstaff – giving a bit beyond what’s expected.

  7. maryann says:

    good for you…i got undercharged recently for running shoes…in fact…i wasnt charged at all for them. i went back in because she told me the bill was right, the shoes rang up at 29 dollars and there were a few other items that i had purchased. i went back in because if they really WERE 29 bucks i wanted another pair. they were NOT on sale. They were 79 dollars. Honesty wins. The shoe guy, cashier and manager lady were all kinda shocked that someone would come back into the store and INSIST to pay the big bucks when the shoes were already in her car and she COULD have been home. i said…it doesnt work like that with me. i couldnt enjoy running in them if i stole them.

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