Honesty

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It was my aunt who taught me the meaning of honesty. Not because she actually was honest, but because she lied all the time. I think she felt that the easiest way out of any given situation was generally the best way out. For her, that meant telling a lie that sounded believable. As a young child I thought it was cool to lie and get out of things so easily and being around my aunt was the main problem. Naturally, when ever I would come to her with a problem, concern, or a question wondering what I should do, she would always tell me to make up a good lie and run with it.
     “Aunt Ruby, I told April that I would go to the movies with her, but I would rather go to Jessica’s house and go to the mall with her.”
     “Tell April you’re sick,” she would say. And most often I would. But I didn’t seem blessed with her lack of principles. On many occasions April would find out that I really went to Jessica’s house and to the mall without her. These occasions taught me that it is more painful to be caught in a lie than to tell the truth in the first place. I wondered how it was possible that my aunt had never learned that lesson that I had just learned so painfully and so easily.
     I started thinking of all the lies that I’d heard her tell. I remember the time she told her friend that her favorite shopping mall had closed, just so she wouldn’t have to see her there anymore and have her approach her and talk for five minutes. The time she told my Uncle that she loved the new purse he had gotten her for her birthday. The one that really takes the cake is when she told her friend Patty that the car was down and that is why she hasn’t been to see her in a couple of weeks. The thing that I don’t understand is why you have to lie to the people you love if you don’t like or want to do something. What bothered me after awhile was how she incorporated me into her lies. Like the time she called the school and told them I wouldn’t be there today because I had a dentist appointment, when in fact, she wanted me to baby sit my little cousin so she could go get her hair done.

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What started to bother me the most was when someone would call for her and she would ask me to tell him or her that she was not there.
     So I soon started my own personal fight against her dishonesty, not to harm her but to help her. When I answered the phone and it was someone my aunt didn’t want to talk to, I said, “Darleen, aunt Ruby is here, but she doesn’t want to talk to you.” The first time I did it, I think she grounded me, but I feel I still had the upper hand. I told her that I had finally realized that it was wrong to lie. The next time it happened I did the same thing again. Finally, she approached me one day and said, “I agree that lying is not the best thing to do, but we need to find a way to be honest without being rude.” I thought to myself that all this time she has worried about being rude. She admitted that her methods that she had tried to teach me were wrong and I admitted that I had been a little extreme as well, making her look like a fool.
     Over the past few years the two of us have worked together to be honest and yet kind. In the dictionary it says that honesty is truthfulness in character and behavior; a quality of a persons personality necessary for trust, respect, and honor; a foundation value and fundamental requirement for successful leadership. I think honesty should mean more than not lying. It should mean speaking the truth in kindness. Though I started by trying to teach my aunt the importance of honesty, I ended up gaining a deeper understanding of the meaning of the phrase, honesty truly is the best policy.


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