Learning the Hard Way
Righteousness guards the man of integrity. Proverbs 13:6
Many kids feel pressure to earn good grades at school; some resort to dishonest means to get them. I (JCD) once succumbed to this temptation. When I was in the eighth grade, I was required to read a certain number of great books during the first semester. Unfortunately, I hadn’t even started as we approached the end of the term—so I selected the thickest, heaviest books in the library and told my teacher I had read them all. Consequently, she gave me an A on my report card. My mom was impressed, my dad was proud, and I was as guilty as sin.
In a moment of true confession, I admitted to my mother that I had cheated. Instead of getting mad or grounding me for six years, she simply said with quiet intensity, “Well, you’ll just have to read the books.” “But, Mom,” I said, “how can I read the collected works of William Shakespeare, Ben Hur, and about ten other huge books?” “I don’t know,” she replied, “but you’re gonna do it.” I spent the rest of that school year poring over the classics while my friends played football and talked to girls. No one ever paid more dearly for a little dishonesty.
My wise mother’s response taught me a priceless lesson. She understood that God is “pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17)…and she made sure that I never forgot that truth.
Before you say good night…
Have your kids ever cheated at home or school? How did you respond?
How can you encourage godly integrity in your family?
Father, we want to come before You as people of righteousness and integrity. Help us to avoid sinful shortcuts in our lives, and show us how to respond with wisdom when our own children fall short of Your perfect ways. Amen.
- From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.