Showing posts with label honesty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label honesty. Show all posts

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Avoiding" Dishonesty (YW Lesson 34, Manual 3)

So I'm with jeans on this one, why is this lesson titled with a double negative?

Why "avoid"? Why not shun, or reject, or some such stronger word?

"Avoiding" dishonesty sounds like we are constantly confronting it and dodging it. Maybe like a driver going through an obstacle course. Our job is not to get rid of the cones, just don't knock one over. Is that an appropriate way to describe our experience with honesty?

This seems like a lesson that will inevitably be mostly full of stories. In her post from 2008, jeans shared a few, especially regarding academic honesty. Also check out the sidebar at for several conference talks. (My favorites would be Ann M. Dibb, “I Believe in Being Honest and True,” from Mar. 2011 general Young Women meeting and Richard C. Edgley, “Three Towels and a 25-Cent Newspaper,” from Oct. 2006 general conference.)

There are also some updated discussion questions on for every lesson. The ones for this lesson are still pretty basic, but to me the wording of the new questions always seems a bit more clear and up-to-date. (And there are no pre-formed answers the girls are supposed to magically answer with the exact wording or else we don't write their answer on the board... sorry, seen that too many times...)

More thoughts? How can we make this lesson not so straightforward that it takes about 10 minutes? I liked the comments from 2008 by anonymous & Reese about how other sins usually start with dishonesty. And then are perpetuated by dishonesty. (As someone who has watched a relative lie about pornography to the point of destroying a marriage and family relationships, then be honest only when caught, and now deny most of it all over again... I can see how dishonesty is certainly connected with other sins.) But really, as pointed out in those comments, every time we sin we are being dishonest with ourselves. Wickedness never was happiness, even though we think it will be worth it, once in a while.

Other thoughts?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lesson 2-36 "Honesty"

I really liked this lesson. Plus it's such a straightforward commandment, to be honest in all your dealings. You've probably had similar experiences to the one that this lesson is built around that you will be able to share with the girls. Sister Kapp's story is a good one. Better yet, it's firsthand, and it's from a general YW president = two thumbs up and a bonus point. But it may not be enough to build a whole lesson on. This one felt a little skimpy to me.

So, here are more memorable probably-true stories; see also

"Three Towels and a 25-cent Newspaper," from Bishop Richard C. Edgley, Gen Conf Oct 2006

"Be Honest," David E. Bednar, New Era Oct 2005

Since the school year has started, it's time for the annual chest-thumping about student cheating, plagiarism, and declining academic integrity. Whether students really are cheating more is debatable, but what is certain is that there are always new variations on technique, and new creative ways that some students find to circumvent the system and try to get the grade without actually earning it. Late this past summer there was a great article series in the New York Times, called "Cheat Sheet" - a fascinating 3-part series exploring how technology and the digital age are blurring the line for young people and the greater need for, ahem, re-education about academic honesty and intellectual scholarly property. Not to mention the great need for teacher/professor/adult modeling of honesty, which is sometimes sadly lacking. But it is an interesting proposition, that today's digital generation is so accustomed to cutting/pasting, mixing, making mashups, photoshopping, xeroxing, finding stuff free on the internet, and downloading/remixing/ and so-called "sharing" of music that copyright law and what's right are sometimes kinda hard to figure out. Thank heaven for Creative Commons licensing, but not everything has free use permissions attached to it, and even then, many people just plain out fail to attribute their sources. I do have to talk about this with my college students every year. And every darn semester, I bust someone for stealing a paper off the internet or buying one from one of those awful dime-a-dozen college paper mill sites or claiming to "not know" that it's wrong to just cut and paste out of Wikipedia. Some of my colleagues (and now, many high schools) use "Turnitin" to try to catch cheaters, but I hate to have my students use that service because I feel like it assumes that I don't trust them to write their own work. Turnitin's slogan is "#1 Plagiarism Checker to Ensure Academic Integrity" but somehow, to me, even forcing students to use it sort of invites or admits academic dishonesty. It's like it never occurs to me to turn around in someone's driveway until I see a big sign that begs me not to. At least once or twice a term I end up giving big fat zeroes and having that awful talk in my office with a student who tries to get past my laser eyes. My least favorite part of being a professor, for sure.

Music downloads, in particular, might make an interesting discussion among your girls. There was a recent New Era article about that, see "It's Just a Copy, Right?," which points out that file-sharing of music (and videos and films, for that matter), without buying is a form of intellectual property theft, and that music piracy is just stealing made easier by the internet, but that it's still stealing. Some things are legitimately free online, but many are uploaded and downloaded without the artist or creator's permission, and that's wrong. The fact that it's common and that (nearly) everyone's doing it still doesn't make it right. Yes, there's only been one high-profile lawsuit against a high-volume downloading music fan, and so there's a low risk of getting caught. But it's still the principle of the thing, that an illegal download is still illegal.

What other "new gray areas" do you see emerging in our fast-paced world of global digital exchange, or in just everyday life, that would update this lesson for 2010?

(Button image from