Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be cheaters and liars. Please.

I've had a lot to deal with at work lately.  For those of you reading this who don't know me very well, I teach high school English.

This year, I have had - much more than usual - students cheating on quizzes and tests, plagiarizing papers, and lying to buy extra time on assignments.  And this morning, I suspect that a student trespassed in my room to steal a copy of a quiz.

I'm disheartened, and I think I know what a part of the problem may be...

Today's youth do not take the time to stop and think before they act.  They don't consider the consequences of their behavior. And some, they don't seem to care what anyone thinks about them.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

It's important that, to a certain degree, we care about the opinion of others in relation to ourselves.

How people think of us can influence how we are treated.

How people think of us can influence how they think of and behave toward our family members.

How people think of us can influence the amount of opportunities afforded us in life.

Fact: Humans are social beings.  We were made for relationships (the most important being with our Savior, Jesus Christ).  It's not healthy, in all senses of that word, to deliberately damage or sabotage relationships.

Then why do most teenagers - and some adults - behave this way?

It was through an activity I did with my sophomores where I believe I may have found the answer to that question...

To begin a unit on ethics, I had my students develop a personal code of ethics.  One of the steps in the process forced them to consider this question: If you were to die today, what would you want others to say about you?

I was surprised to find that they had difficulty answering this question.

The question implied they should be living as if today might be their last.  It also implied they could leave a lasting impact on those around them.  These are things teenagers - and some adults - don't take the time to consider.

And that's the problem.  That is why most teenagers - and some adults - behave in ways that are self-destructive: They live as if they are infinite - free to live forever without consequences.

However, here's a newsflash to those living this way. You are finite.  Your short life on this earth will make an impact - whether you care for it to or not.

So answer the question: If you were to die today, what would you want others to say about you? And once you have your answer, make a plan to live in such a way that this is exactly what others will say when you pass on.  This plan is your personal code of ethics.

Parents.  Teach your children about ethics. Help them develop a personal code of ethics to live by: moral principles, rules of conduct, and values.  Teach them the importance of this before they become lost in themselves.

Have this conversation with them sooner rather than later. Their teachers will thank you for it!

Today's forget-me-not:  My personal code of ethics:

My Personal Code of Ethics

I value a loving approach to life and to everyone, and I most appreciate 
those who reciprocate this love.

Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  This is the first and greatest commandment.   
  And the second is like it: 
 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

To fulfill my ethical value statement, I will spend as much time as possible in bible study – examining Jesus’ life.  He was/is the ultimate example of my value statement.  Furthermore, I will make it my aim to always practice what He preached – love.  To do this effectively, I will give others “the benefit of the doubt” in moments of disagreement.  I will give grace and forgiveness when I have been wronged.  I will overlook faults and remember I have my own to count.  Ultimately, I will sacrifice my time to show that I am sincere in all I do and say.  

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