Somewhere along the way, “honesty is the best policy” went by the wayside.
The other day, my 14-year-old son announced that he would be driving in two years.
As serendipity would have it, my auto insurance card arrived in the mail at the same time. I looked it over and found this small card attached to the driver’s card. I detached it and read it over.
The heading read: “What to do if you are ever in an accident.”
The first line was horrific; it read, “Do not admit fault.”
Is this what I want my brand-new driver to know? I freaked out. Is this what America has come to?
My mind raced back to when I was seven months pregnant and on the way to choir rehearsal one Sunday morning.
A car full of teens flew out into the intersection in hopes of beating our car and we ran into the rear quarter panel of their car. We had the right of way and the driver of the other car failed to yield to oncoming traffic.
I had my seat belt on but the impact caused me to go into labor. An ambulance raced me to he nearest hospital, which was a small one, and I was a high-risk pregnancy being 40 years old.
This was our only chance at a child through natural means, so the anxiety was rather intense. The doctors and nurses managed to stop the labor with magnesium sulfate, which was the closest I’d ever felt to actually dying.
A few months later our son was born and, thankfully, he was fine. But the young man and his mother sued us. The judge in the case was actually amused until this young man’s mother verbally challenged him. Then he cut to the chase and declared the teen as completely at fault and supported by a lunatic.
Well, maybe the judge didn’t say lunatic, but his intention was pretty clear.
At the time, and now I still believe this with all my heart, I swore that if that boy had been my son, I would have signed him into slavery to that expectant mother until the baby was delivered.
How can we adults provide a lesson in honesty if our own established businesses and institutions set us and our children up for insincerity?
If we are at fault, then admit it and move on. Rectify the situation.
They have a term for this: overcorrection. For example, if a child or teen becomes really angry, loses control and turns all the chairs over in a classroom, the punishment that fits the crime is to restore the classroom. It may not be as simple as that in all situations, but it’s a pretty good place to start.
So I think the first line on the insurance card should read, “be honest.”
Isn’t that what we want to receive in return? Treat others as you would want to be treated. We all learned that early in life and that’s what I’ll tell my kids.
Wrap your full tort around that!