The other night there was a documentary on the National Geographic channel. It was called Brain Games: Morality, and it was rather thought-provoking. One particular situation in the documentary was setting unknown participants up to receive too much change back from the cashier at a coffee house. Every time the person who received the money returned it… until – the cashier became a distracted and less polite person, who was busy texting on her phone and did not seem to be too bright. In that situation, the persons receiving the extra change – which was $20 – kept it. Wow… this is based on people passing judgments on others and not because the buyers, or customers, were any different. Not sure why this happens but it seemed to consistently be the case. One thing we know for sure – we are glad we weren’t the unknown participants caught on tape! It does cause us to consider how people behave when others are not watching. What application does this have for us in the classroom, business, or simply life in our world? What is the moral of the story after all?
Hold that thought…
True Story. After just having viewed the documentary the previous evening, I experienced a simliar situation of chosing between right and wrong. It was like I was being set up wtihout knowing it. My son was competing at the junior high speech meet in one part of a school building, and wanting to see the high school team’s first post-season basketball game, we walked to the gym area. The ticket table was waaayyy down another hall, but the gym doors were right in front of us. We knew that we would only be there for a short time as we were waiting the awards ceremony to begin for speech. The devil angel on my shoulder thought for a split second “just go in because you won’t be here very long,” but the angel angel on my shoulder immediately spoke up (maybe yelled?) “you WILL do what is right – especially as you are modeling for your impressionable son.” Of course I listened to my angel angel and paid the $12 for my son and I to attend. We didn’t stay long, but I could at least sleep at night knowing I did what was right. I didn’t make the explicit connection to my story and the morality documentary until considering this blog. The $12 costs far less than integrity. …Sure glad there wasn’t a documentary being made at the time, but at least I could be part of the first group who returned the extra change – at least this time, right?!
The moral of the story is that we need to do what we know is right and not what we think we can justify with a long story because it might be the easier road to go – for us physically or mentally… or for our wallets. We need to remember to lead by example because it is our actions that tell most of our story. A word of advice to our teacher candidates here – remember they are always watching so model what you want to see.
Have you been “caught” in a morality documentary of your own recently? Tell us your reality story.
Stay Calm & Lead On!