About honesty.

Dearest Jude, on our way to school this morning, as we were riding in the GrabCar, you noticed something on the door handle that didn’t belong there. Apparently it was the “little trash bin” that sits under the armrest between front passenger seats.

Previous passenger must have accidentally knocked the thing off. Then, instead of putting it back, the person left it on the door handle.

You suggested to me that we should tell Uncle (the driver) about it. I said Uncle might have known already. But you weren’t convinced and continue to look unsettled. I thought for a while, I decided to go with your suggestion and told Uncle about it.

Turns out, he wasn’t aware of it at all. He thanked us for letting him know, I was able to help him put the thing back to where it belonged too. Everyone was happy.

Uncle went on and lamented previous passenger who broke the thing chose not to tell him, likely because he or she was trying to avoid being asked to pay for the damage. Which is a valid point. Most people chose to escape from responsibilities.

You, my son, on the other hand, felt compelled to tell Uncle about it because you didn’t want the next passenger, or Uncle himself to think you were the one who broke it. That, is also a valid point. Nobody likes to be thought as a bad person (except for previous passenger.)

But you were too young to consider the possibility of Uncle accusing us for being the ones who broke it and makes us pay for it anyway.

Why had I still gone ahead and told Uncle? I considered two things:

1. If we chose not to tell him and continued to let the “little dust bin” sit on the door handle, the next passenger who boards the car through that door may accidentally drop the thing and it will be gone from the car forever. Imagine the hassle Uncle has to go through to buy the replacement, all because of couple of selfish idiots?

2. The “little dust bin” wasn’t very expensive. If Uncle had decided to make us pay, I can afford it. But I will also make sure to rain fire on him afterwards, both directly and indirectly!

So we took the calculated risk.

This is after all a very trivia matter. I just wanted to take this opportunity to teach you about honesty. Now here’s the bad news: There will be situations in life when honesty doesn’t help. It’s a very lengthy subject that I can write a book about. But I will let you experience them yourself and learn as you grow.

But remember the rule of thumb: if the situation concerns life and death, honesty precedes everything!

There was this news about the little boy who had accidentally locked another boy in a broken fridge while playing hide and seek. He decided to keep quiet about it in fear of being punished. The family found the other boy only the next day — motionless. Which do you think is harder for him to live with? Being punished or causing someone’s death?