[Editorial] The Importance of Being Honest
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Milton not only values honesty but relies on it, just as any other institution would. Honesty is the fabric that allows us to make up tests without a teacher hovering over us and leave our bags and valuable belongings strewn in the Student Center. “Dare to be True” is not just a clichéd motto here. Students subconsciously adopt the value and importance of unconditional honesty. Milton’s emphasis on honesty is a point of pride and makes this school unique.
The Milton Paper published an editorial last week criticizing Milton’s “blind obsession with truth” in response to a recent DC. What they call a “blind obsession with truth” has been a cornerstone of this institution since 1798 and has been instilled in over two centuries of graduates the importance of honesty. The lessons and skills that we learn in the classroom are important; the morals we learn in our four years at Milton are even more so. These core values transcend individual situations; when employed unconditionally, they raise the integrity of everyone affected. By being untruthful, you hurt others. Lies negatively affect not only the person telling them, but the person listening to and believing them. They break bonds built on trust and lead people to question future actions . Whether the intent is malicious or harmless, each lie not only is immediately destructive but also affirms a faulty habit.
Many who disagree with last week’s DC have mentioned that a senior would have received a lesser punishment for violating the school’s drug and alcohol or whereabouts policies. They point out how the punishment for lying differs from the norm and how this aberration is unfair. The Milton Measure disagrees. Not only is this criticism of Milton’s core value shortsighted, but it is without sound rationale. To flout the most important of the school’s values, honesty, and blame students’ being held to an “irrational standard” is simply absurd. If a student abuses the fundamental nature of trust upon which many of our privileges at Milton are built, administrators shouldn’t be expected to let them off with a lesser punishment just because they’ve been stressed out.
Students in all disciplinary situations are privy to the pressure that is characteristic of Milton; those breaching the truth are not an exceptional case. Additionally, lying as a shortcut to meet the so-called “unreasonable image of the perfect Milton student” is in itself a direct contradiction of what the apparent “ideal” suggests. Working towards being a good student shouldn’t elicit dishonest actions, and doesn’t serve as a valid excuse.
The value of honesty goes beyond teachers, DCs, and the school’s administration. Honesty critically shapes us as we enter the wild, cutthroat world beyond this school. Now, in our formative high school years, is the time to develop the habit of employing sound values. Think about last week’s DC and its implications. Call us obsolete, call us unoriginal, but take our motto and learn from it. “Dare to be True:” unconditionally and in every situation.
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