Being Truthful to Yourself

By Li Stebner

Is stealing a subject of theft and sneakiness, or is it a reflection of want and envy? Maybe it is simply an act to get attention, or to see how much one can get away with now. No matter what you categorize theft under, there is a moral aspect about it we must confront. Theft has been prevalent throughout Hathaway Brown for the past two years. Recently, cameras have been put up and students are questioning the safety of leaving their belongings unattended. Not only is theft illegal, but also, those who are stolen from lose something which is important to them and that they worked hard to achieve; moreover, theft is a moral issue in which the thief is lying to herself.

Think of the disappointment that is felt when a necklace that was given to you last Christmas by your grandmother is now missing from your basketball bag, or that twenty five dollars you just received after baby-sitting all last week is missing from your book bag. Each of these items are irreplaceable, yet they were so easy misplaced or taken. Now, imagine you are the thief. Your mother wouldn’t give you that twenty five dollars to go see the new Hunger Games movie with your friends, and you see the opportunity right there, sticking out of that blue-and-grey NorthFace book bag. No one is around, and let’s be honest, the person who has the money is isn’t going to need it. So you take it, and you see the movie, and you even get a buttered popcorn. Now be honest to yourself; was it worth it? Did you enjoy the movie well enough to go and work after school for a week to replace the money you stole from the baby-sitter’s backpack? If so, why don’t you do it? Go up to her the next time you see that backpack on a girl walking through the hall and pay her back; tell her it was you and that you’ll do her job for a week. If not, what made you take the money? Was it just that the opportunity was there? If someone had been around what would you have done instead?

By taking the money, or necklace, or maybe even the homework answers, you adhere to pressure. You give into corrupt opportunities that not only hurt others but also hurt yourself. You’re missing the opportunity to learn from the homework, to receive a present that may become special to you; furthermore, if someone catches you, you lose all the trust that was to your name. Trust is an item taken for granted, but it can never fully be replaced once it is gone.

Not only does being deceitful, such as stealing answers or possessions, reflect badly on the individual, but it encompasses the school as well. This school has always been a place of moral pureness and trust. We are trusted to roam the halls on free periods, and sign an Honor Code upon every test. Individuals make up the community, though, and if individuals decide to lie and cheat, then the community will devolve into a place in which will trust will no longer exist and surveillance will have to be placed.

So, next time an opportunity that involves cheating, lying, or stealing comes up, think about the trust people have in you have at the moment. Imagine the disappointment that would be put in you if you were caught, and rethink your decision to act.