Essay on Honesty

Imagine this: You are at a MacDonald�s drive through. You have ordered only one cheese burger, but when you drive up to the collection window, the young trainee hands you a big bag filled with food and a handful of change. There are two options, do you, A; tell the young trainee that you only ordered a cheese burger, (which costed you only $1.90) and give back to him the big bag of food and handful of change? Or do you, B; say thank you to the young trainee and drive off happily with the huge bag of food and all the change, feeling lucky that the trainee made a mistake with your order.
Of course, the first action suggested above, (A) is the honest and truthful way to resolve the problem. However, unfortunately, most of Austrtalia�s youth population would choose the latter option, and therefore taking advantage of the young trainee�s mistake by gaining extra food and a whole handful of spare change.

Below is the definition of �honesty� from the Macquarie Encyclopaedic Dictionary:

1. Honourable in principles, intentions and actions; upright, as in an honest person
2. Showing uprightness and fairness, as in an honest method
3. Acquired fairly, as in honest money
4. Open; sincere, as in an honest face
5. Genuine or unadulterated, as in honest commodities
6. Truthful; creditable; candid�

Therefore, one can, by reading the definition above, assume the definition of �honest� to be fair, truthful, trustworthy, earned fairly.

Another example would be: You are at a supermarket check out counter and you are paying for ice-cream, bread, fish, ham, and bacon which comes to a total of $43. It is your turn to pay and you hand the girl at the counter a $50 note. However, she is colour blind and carelessly mistakes your $50 note for a $100 note. She then hands you a big wad of bank notes as change. There is already a huge line forming behind you because it is 4:40pm (supermarket closes at 5:00pm). Once again, there are two options. You can (A) Just accept the fact that it was her mistake to not notice it was a $50 and not a $100 note. Therefore, you just take the change and leave the supermarket before the checkout girl realises her mistake. Or you can choose (B): Tell the colour-blind checkout girl that you actually handed her a $50 note rather than a $100 note and tell her to give you back the correct amount of change. But there is one small problem with this. As it is already 4:40pm and the supermarket closes at 5:00pm, the people lining up behind you might get agitated, and getting the correct change would only waste more time. This in turn will agitate the people in the long line behind you even more.
In this particular scenario, the latter solution (B) is the morally correct action, even though it may agitate the people in the line, you are doing the right thing and being honest. Once again, most adolescents would act out the morally incorrect solution and see it as just a little bonus cash on behalf of the colour-blind checkout girl (even though most adolescents don�t do any shopping).

Imagine if you were that particular checkout girl. Because of the fact that you are colour-blind, you can barely tell the difference between the different banknotes apart from their size and the number in the top right hand corner. Your boss is looking over your shoulder to see how you are doing because he is waiting for the last customers to leave so that he can close the doors and go home for the night. He spots your mistake but the sinful adolescent has already left. After the gates have been closed, the store manager summons you to his office to have one of his �little chats�. You immediate think of the worst-case scenario, could you have been fired? When you reach his office, he vividly tells you about the mistake, which you had unknowingly made just minutes earlier. He then continues to tell you that the sum of money will be taken out of your fortnightly pay cheque. �Phew!� You think to yourself as relief sweeps over your whole body. However, you are also devastated, you desperately need money to repair your refrigerator. As you leave the store manager�s office, you would probably be thinking, �If I ever catch that teenager who ripped me off, I could kill him with my bare hands!� But then again, if you did kill that teenager who got the extra cash, you would be the evildoer.

The book �1984� written by well-known American author George Orwell shows an example of the un-honourable actions of parents influencing their small children. About 99% of the characters in �1984� acted like robots that did not care about each other�s feelings or emotions. Another way in which the people were like robots was the fact that they did not think and only reacted at the first thought, therefore using each other as a kind of �thought police�. The children in �1984� were even worse because they used their own parents as their �thought police�. These people in �1984� never felt ashamed of their actions. In fact, this 99% of the characters actually felt proud of whatever they did, whether it was right or wrong.

In The Mercury newspaper, 23rd August 1994, it contained an article on burglaries in general. In the article, it said that Australia had one of the world�s highest burglary and domestic violence rates. It was said that this was because of Australians high beer intake in comparison to countries which drink more wine rather than beer (Italy or Greece or Spain). This is proven by the fact that many other beer drinking countries like Canada, America, England, Germany and Holland also have quite high crime, burglary and domestic violence rates. Another factor that adds to Australia�s high crime/burglary rate is the facts that just over 80% of Australia�s population live in a detached, single story house, which is accessible to burglars from all sides. This can be compared to Paris, which has one of the world�s lowest crime/burglary rates. This is due to the fact that Paris� population is fairly dense, which means that most people live in apartments, flats or units. If you were a burglar, and you had to choose whether to enter the high-rise apartments or the single story detached house, I am sure that you would choose the house, because there is no foyer and you can enter it from any side which has a window.
Some of the statistics mentioned in that particular article were;
3.7 per cent of Australians were burgled in 1991,
1.8 per cent was robbed,
15 per cent were victims of non-contact personal theft
6.7 were victims of violent crimes, including sexual assaults, threats and domestic violence.
You may think that the related article has absolutely no relevance to the topic at all, but in fact, it proves to us how imperfect we humans are, no matter how good we think we are. It also proves to us that we need to be a better role model to our children and everyone around us. If parents, many generations ago, had been better role models, our crime, burglary and domestic violence rates would probably be much lower. According to previous years� crimes rates, there is definitely a trend, that Australia�s crime, burglary and domestic violence rates at on the rise.

How can we remedy this? Well, we can start by thinking about the consequences of the evil acts we commit everyday, whether it be just a harmless practical joke or the example above with the MacDonalds trainee. Just imagine if you are the young trainee from the example above. The next car pulls up and you hand the driver the cheeseburger only to face the angry driver who had really ordered two MacValue Meals. Your stomach ties itself into knots as you realize what had just happened. You had got the orders of this man and the previous customer mixed up, therefore giving the previous customer this mans order and that customer thought it was just a mistake so he took the two meals. Because of this, you quickly rush to make another two MacValue Meals for the angry man. To make the matter worse, your boss, the branch manager comes around to check how you are doing and there is nothing else to do so you tell the manager of your situation. The branch manager then deducts the sum of the two MacValue Meals off your fortnightly pay cheque. The manager, having one of his bad days, also phones your parents telling them of your petty mistake. Your stomach ties itself into another knot; you know they will ground you for the rest of the year.
These were the consequences of an innocent teenager taking advantage of your mistake. If this young trainee were really you, you would probably be so angry with the teenager that you could kill him, without thinking about the consequences. The teenager, at the time, probably thought that the inexperienced trainee had merely pressed the wrong buttons and thought that the note you passed him was of a much higher denomination. Because of this, the teenager took all of this in his stride and just took the bag of food as well as the heap of loose change.

Our country, at the moment, is filled with morally confused teenagers, mainly due to the fact that their parents are also morally confused, therefore leading to a society of morally confused people. However, many kids are also affected by media; for example, a child may hear about an unsolved crime, therefore he thinks, �If I commit a crime, maybe no one will find out�. The reason kids are so confused is because they learn from their parents and the world around them what is acceptable and what is not. The problem with this is that what the parents, or other types of media like films, communicate to their children that many things are acceptable whereas it is actually morally unacceptable. The article, �The Crackdown on Kids,� by Annette Fuentes in the New York Times, 17th May 1997 states that, �Kids are a national treasure and natural resource, the bearers of our collective dreams and hopes.� Most adults and parents do not view kids this way, they just think of them as cute and when they grow up into adolescents, they are viewed as daring troublemakers. If they did view kids as �national treasures� and �bearers of our collective dreams and hopes for the future�, they would more carefully watch over their own behaviour to make sure they do not give their kids the wrong messages. Kids learn from parents and parents learn from their parents and so on, so logically one bad person in any given family at any time could produce a very long family history of morally unacceptable human beings. Our job nowadays is to stop this vicious cycle by thinking before we act to make sure that we d not give our kids the wrong messages.