Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Means Should Justify the Ends


Instead of a Lesson Idea this morning, I thought that I' share a few thoughts From My Side of the Desk.

cheating hand-scientificamerican.com
When they are growing up, children hear the adage, “Cheaters Never Win,” echoed from homes, the classrooms, places of worship, and seemingly every mountain top and television set. Each time this adage is reiterated, they nod seriously as if they had never, ever before heard this warning, and share eye rolls with each other while they mouth the words, “Yes they do.” 

From the moment that they learn right from wrong,
·         Children see Aunt Judy, who was instructed by her cardiologist to lose 45 pounds, sneaking that piece of pecan pie she just said, “No,” to at dinner.
·         In the living room, they hear Grandpa Bob chortling about how he just happened to hear the hush hush rumor that XYZ Inc. was ousting their ineffective CEO for the dynamo of Awesome Tech a few days before this news was made public. “I sold the mega-shares of stock I purchased at $11.75 as soon as I got home that afternoon. The price skyrocketed into the three digit range after Super CEO’s first quarter earnings soared and I made a killing.”
·         They see Mom out by the garbage can sneaking a few puffs from that pack of Marlboros  she hid in August when she threw out the  six remaining packs in the carton because she was going to, “… quit for good this time.”
·         They hear their cousins whispering about their football coach who has ‘a guy’ that figured out how to hack into the opposing coach’s headsets during the games so he could hear their planned plays.
·         Through the Internet, social media, newspapers and magazines, they hear and read about celebrity’s cheating hearts, athletes denials about using performance enhancing drugs, illegal drugs, or having prescription addictions, politicians blustering about not accepting gifts from campaign contributors, and school administrators renouncing allegations  that someone(s) at their school changed grades on tests, college admission grades or students’ quarterly grades.
·         They know that Harry writes the definitions to the week’s vocabulary words on a two inch square piece of paper that he sticks to the bottom of his left shoe with packing tape at lunch the day of the quiz, and that
·         Jack was never kicked off the football team, even though all the kids in his junior English class know that Jill wrote every one of his essays (then and now) so he would remain academically eligible his senior year.
·         As for Jill, everyone in hearing range of booming voice knows that she never volunteered at a near-by assisted living home which she wrote so poignantly about in her personal essay for her college application. “Ewue,” she had pronounced repeatedly after her first and only five-minute visit, “It smelled like old people.” The Ivy League college that accepted her never checked.
And so it goes.

Even though they might not understand what Grandpa Bob was talking about or what difference it makes if
Game Over-lemon64.com
some athlete took some ‘vitamins’ to bulk up, they know in their hearts, minds and souls that these actions are wrong, wrong, wrong.  Time and time again, the lessons in their social studies books have revealed the downfalls, disgraces and deaths of many despots who allowed their greed and lust for power to lead them down the End Justifies the Means Road, but see history repeating itself month after month after month.
 And when they question the rightness of any of the above situations, they are told, “You don’t understand the whole situation,”  “It’s complicated,” or, “Oh, goodness, that isn’t any business of ours.” The message is clear- it doesn’t matter how you get to the top of the finance, fame and fortune mountain… just get there.

And so it goes.

Why people act shocked when they hear stories about a cheating scandal in any walk of life is beyond my understanding.  After all, duplicitous deeds have been attached to the underbelly of life, and edging their way into the world’s common knowledge sector since Oog borrowed Moog’s wheel concept idea, smoothed out the rough edges and sold it for millions of Magnon Money and a penthouse cave. Outrage at each new immoral action fuels these stories until it turns to ash and is brushed aside, awaiting the next incident. 

And so it goes.

Instead of wasting the ink and air space on the Whats, we should search out the Whys.  Haven’t researchers done that for many diseases which have been eradicated, such as smallpox and measles? And although progress has been made for lessening the terminal rate of many cancers, scientists are expending their knowledge and energies on finding even more cures instead of questioning its horrific existence.

Can’t we relegate cheating stories to the small print back pages, instead of feigning shock at bold, black headlines that scream about the newest nefarious escapade? We should demand that cheaters show responsibility for their actions and pay their dues. Organizations that stand to lose financial gain, fame and fortune due to these nefarious conducts should accept this reality, too, as should their fan base.

If sports teams are fined for the illegal actions of players and this leads to publicity that could cost the organization millions of dollars in revenue… so be it.

If schools face not making AYP, and need to expend their time and energy turning students into lifelong learners instead of mere test takers… so be it.

If applicants for colleges, jobs, and top secret clearances are denied acceptance because of deception, deceit or fraud…so be it.

No Cheating-girlsbestfriendandcoblog.com
We need to quit excusing those who think that they can buck the system but still retain their glow in the public eye, and demand that they pay the consequences for all immoral and illegal actions.
We need to be willing to see our teams lose, our idols fall off their pedestals, and our schools-from kindergarten through college-face up to uncomfortable situations when students or employees ignore the Honor Code.
We need to teach our children that their school work is their responsibility-that grades lower than perfect are acceptable as long as they honestly tried their very best, and that making the team, the cast, the class presidency or the Honor Roll is something to be earned and not achieved by stepping on their peers, bullying or spreading rumors.

We need to love and accept our children for who they are personally, academically and socially, even if…especially if they don’t measure up to our hopes and dreams, or the accomplishments of the children of our neighbors, family, work colleagues, or anyone else.

We need to do the same for ourselves.

The means should always justify the ends.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next week,
Happy Teaching.