So all school year we have worked with our kids about integrity – they get that it means doing the right thing – even when no one is watching…. but they don’t all get why. Why would you do the right thing when no one is watching. Most of us choose to do the right thing b/c that’s how we were raised and if you’re like me and you don’t do the right thing – well you feel smothered by guilt. Unfortunately most of the kids I teach weren’t raised that way – quite a few of them go home to watch stolen cable on the television that Rent a Center will be trying to track down soon in the apartment they will be forced to move out of when the landlord stops giving the parents another month to come up with the rent. The super sad thing is that for most of them – it’s a choice the parents are making to go out and party with the rent/ utility money…. it’s not a case of them not having jobs or being able to afford. So that’s what our kids see at home…. when their parents aren’t in jail for fighting with the neighbor or driving under the influence or a myriad of other minor charges. But sometimes they get it…. sometimes under the sadness and the attitude you can see this glimpse of the kid that could be – if you could only hold onto them a little longer – keep them safe through the summer and remind them that they are good kids and they can be something when they get older. So as the year draws to a close I try to remind them of the good I see in them… of all that they can be before I send them out the door to be basically on their own for two months. As a responsible adult I think that it’s horrible that summer break keeps getting shorter and shorter…. but as a teacher I know that two months can be a lifetime for some of my kids and it’s actually way too long.
Anyways I was faced with an integrity dilemna today – a perfect example to give my kiddos – but I can’t because it involves beer. I stopped at the grocery on my way home from work to pick up guacamole and lettuce for our tacos tonight and on the spur of the moment decided to buy some Miller Light with Lime. I picked up a 12 pack (it was on sale and I know it will keep in my fridge through the summer) and headed to the checkout. My total should have been about $15 – but it was only $10 – hmmmmm I thought the beer was $9 by itself…. but it only rang up as $4. I was faced with a dilemna – do I take my bounty out to the car and no one would be the wiser – or do I act with integrity and go up to the customer service counter and tell them about the mistake. Well laugh if you must – but my mama was good about laying on the guilt – so up to the counter I went. After some explaining and some bizarre looks I managed to convince the manager that I wasn’t up there to complain about being overcharged I was up there to report that I had been undercharged. She eventually took my $5 that I still owed for the beer – but I’m pretty sure she was still waiting on candid camera to jump out when I walked out the door. Isn’t it sad that she was surprised because I did the right thing?? (I’ll be completely honest it was really tempting to go on home and not report the mistake !)