The Advanced Test: Are You an Honest Person?

Truth or Dare: Pro Edition
Part 2 of 4

Get ready for the more advanced version of “Truth or Dare.” In round 1, we explored honesty with words. Now let’s play the next level as we think about honest actions.

Cheated on School Work?

Truth: Have you ever cheated on your school work? 

When your grades are at stake, it’s tempting to copy the right answers for that algebra test, especially when everyone expects you to do well. Maybe your parents are pressuring you to come up to certain standards. Maybe you’re not going to graduate high school this spring if you don’t pass algebra this semester.

And what about that book report you forgot about until the night before it was due? It’s easy to copy large sections from the Spark Notes website, insert them into your paper, and slap your name at the top.

If you’ve ever given in to similar temptations, you took credit for work that you didn’t do. Many students don’t see anything wrong with getting ahead by cheating. But if you’re going to practice honesty, you’ve got to leave these deceitful behaviors behind. Many more things in life have greater value than a grade you earned in algebra class—honesty is one of them.

DARE: Refuse to cheat. Perhaps you're having trouble with one of your classes. Admit it and get a tutor. Work hard. Do your best. If your best work results in a D, so be it. At least you will have earned it honestly. 

Falsify a Job or School Application?

TRUTH: Did you add untrue information on your job or school application?

There’s nothing wrong with representing yourself well when you’re trying to get into college (or another institution) or to get a job. A well-written resume or application serves as an important introduction and can make the right people notice you. And if you have interviews, you’ll want to present yourself well. 

But if you misrepresent yourself with false or exaggerated accomplishments or by claiming experience you’ve never had, you’ll only hurt yourself in the long run. Will you get where you want to go? Maybe…But if you’re dishonest about who you are and what you’ve done, you’re likely to be found out, or to end up in a situation where you can’t succeed.

Don’t end up like the graduate student who lasted only two months in her internship position after failing to live up to her boss’s expectations, “I don’t understand it,” the boss commented to the other office interns, “She had a great resume and a top-notch portfolio. But it seems to be the work of a completely different person.”

DARE: As you look toward a job or higher education, resolve to tell the truth about yourself and what you’ve done. If you’re lacking in experience or academic performance, focus on other good qualities such as hard work, loyalty, or determination. Give the best representation of yourself in the most honest way.

Fail to Follow Through on a Commitment?

TRUTH: When was the last time you failed to follow through on a commitment or a promise?

Be careful when you promise someone that you’ll do something. Although it might not be the first thing you think about when considering honest living, keeping your word does play an important role. The way you keep even the smallest commitments can make or break your reputation as a believable person. 

Did you tell your mom you would unload the dishwasher this morning? Then do it—and do it this morning not this afternoon.

Did you sign up for nursery duty at church? Then show up when you’re expected.

Did you promise to pick up your friend for school? Don’t let him down.

When you break your commitments, you break your trust with others. They no longer see you as a dependable person.  They may even stop believing you at all when you continue to say you’ll do things and then don’t.

DARE: The next time you say you will do something, do everything you can to keep your word. Don’t make commitments on a whim. If you’re not sure you can follow through, don’t make a promise.

Stolen Money?

TRUTH: Have you ever stolen any money?

Most of us would probably answer with a definite no. But consider the following scenarios:

  • As you leave the grocery store, you look down into your hand and notice that you’ve been given too much change.
  • You’re walking across the parking lot when you see a wealthy-looking man drop some folded bills. He doesn’t seem to notice. When you reach the spot, you pick up the bills.
  • You borrow a little gas money from a friend at work and promise to pay him back. But as the days go by, you conveniently begin to forget about it.

Have you ever faced similar situations? How did you respond? Did you always try your best to ensure the money was returned to its rightful owner? No? 

Practicing honesty when dealing with money involves more than not stealing large sums. When you keep money that belongs to someone else, you’re not being honest. Perhaps you didn’t take money forcefully, but unless you return it, you’ve stolen it.

Do you need to go back and answer that last question truthfully?

You can fail to return a small bit of change and tell yourself it doesn’t matter. But the more you practice dishonesty with small amounts of money, the easier you will find it to be dishonest with large amounts.

DARE: If you owe someone even a small amount of money, pay it back as soon as you can.

Been a Hypocrite?

TRUTH:  Are you a hypocrite? Have you ever been called one?

The word hypocrite is derived from a Greek word, meaning to play a theatrical part or to pretend. When you advocate certain morals or values but don’t follow them yourself, you engage in hypocrisy. 

If you believe in the importance of loyalty, for example, but gossip about a friend, you would have to answer a big yes for this last question. Have you ever admonished your younger sibling not to go to certain websites? Maybe you have.  But then do you go to such sites, yourself? If so, once again you’d have to admit the truth about your hypocrisy. 

We’re all a little hypocritical at times; no one is perfect. But if you want to practice honesty, you’ll do your best to live according to your beliefs.

DARE: Think about what you really believe. Stop pretending and start living according to your values.

Practicing honesty often takes courage and becomes a dare, itself. And real honesty certainly isn’t a game. But you might not see why it’s so important. Just because we’ve clarified honesty and various ways people fail to apply it, doesn’t mean you’re convinced that you should practice it. 

Don’t miss Part 3: Game Over: Why You'll Never Win with Lying where we’ll take a look at why you should care about being honest in the first place.

Written by Beth W. Prassel-Sieg 


Part 1
The Beginner's Test: Are You an Honest Person?
Truth or Dare: Version 1.0

Part 3
Game Over: Why You'll Never Win with Lying
Truth or Dare: The Case for Honesty

Part 4
Hit Replay: How to Win with Honesty
Truth or Dare: Extract Yourself from the Web

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Good habits formed at youth make all of the difference in life. Aristotle