Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

August 17, 2011

Putting Honesty on Ice? The Price of Good Parenting

Filed under: Articles and Resources,Uncategorized — by Life's Toolbox @ 12:38 pm
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Hockey ShotAll over the morning news, for two days straight, is the Hockey Twins $50,000 story.  Winning the raffle at a Minnesota event , Nick Smith was given a chance to make an unbelievable shot on the court for the unbelievable prize of $50,000 cash.  When his name was called, Nick was outside the  arena, so Dad sent his twin, Nate to the ice, where miraculously, he made the shot and won the prize.  One day later, stating it didn’t sit right with them, and wasn’t the way they want to raise their children, the family has come forward to admit the wrong boy accomplished the feat and return the money.  The media, through polls and unsolicited tweets and emails, has found that over 75% of those speaking out on the issue feel the boys should get to keep the money.

I’m all for honesty paying .  At the same time, can we really afford, in this country, at this time, to teach children that dishonesty comes at no cost?  I understand the sentiment that wants to see these adorable and belatedly honest twins not walk away empty handed, but I’m concerned about the apparent willingness to forgive dishonesty so easily.  I’d suggest we send multiple, healthy messages by dividing the prize money.  The sponsoring organization could generously reward the Smith family’s voluntary honesty with a $25,000 or $35,000 prize.  This signals a powerful appreciation of truthfulness . . . but a considerable penalty for dishonesty, cheating, or not following the rules.  It would be wonderful if the sponsors expand this teachable moment and rather than keep the remainder of the money, donate it to a worthy cause.

Some buzz on the airwaves has been less than positive towards the Smith family.  Why did they send the wrong twin onto the ice.  Why did they take the money and only a day later develop a conscience?  I can’t know what went on in the minds of the Mr.  &  Mrs. Smith for those 24 hours.  I do know that too much of our parenting and teaching is done on the fly, and with the notion that we are stuck with a decision we made and just have to live with it.  The Smith family reminded us that grown-ups make mistakes . . . and can unmake them.  It may not be easy, and there will be a price to pay, but I’d suggest we consider it an investment.  The dividends will come when children see that all decisions, all actions, all missteps can be righted if
they were wrong in the first place.  That life lesson is easily worth a million bucks.


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