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    HONESTY

    In the early 1900s George Riddell acquired the sensational London newspaper The News of the World. Meeting British journalist Frederick Greenwood one day, Riddell mentioned that he owned a newspaper, told Greenwood its name, and offered to send him a copy. The next time they met, Riddell asked Greenwood what he thought of The News.

    "I looked at it and then I put it in the wastepaper basket," said Greenwood, "and then I thought, 'If I leave it there the cook may read it,' so I burned it." 

    Today in the Word, November 3, 1993.


    During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his cowpunchers lassoed a maverick steer, lit a fire, and prepared the branding irons. The part of the range they were on was claimed by Gregor Lang, one of Roosevelt's neighbors. According to the cattleman's rule, the steer therefore belonged to Lang. As his cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said, "Wait, it should be Lang's brand."

    "That's all right, boss," said the cowboy.

    "But you're putting on my brand," Roosevelt said.

    "That's right," said the man.

    "Drop that iron," Roosevelt demanded, "and get back to the ranch and get out. I don't need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me." 

    Today in the Word, March 28, 1993.


    A rancher asked a veterinarian for some free advice. "I have a horse," he said, "that walks normally sometimes and limps sometimes. What shall I do." 

    The veterinarian replied, "The next time he walks normally, sell him." 

    Al Schock, Jokes for All Occasions.


    When Fred Phillips, retired public-safety director and police chief of Johnson City, Tenn., was a regular police office, he and his partner pulled over an unlicensed motorist. They asked the man to follow them to the police station, but while en route they spotted a North Carolina vehicle whose license plate and driver matched the description in an all-points bulletin.

    The officers took off in a high-speed chase, and finally stopped the wanted man's car.

    Minutes later, as the felon was being arrested, the unlicensed motorist drove up. "If y'all will just tell me how to get to the station, I'll wait for you there," he said. "I'm having a heck of a time keeping up with you."

    John Newland in Johnson City, Tenn., Press, quoted in Reader's Digest, June, 1992, p. 145.


    Bob Harris, weatherman for NY TV station WPIX-TV and the nationally syndicated independent Network news, had to weather a public storm of his own making in 1979. Though he had studied math, physics and geology at three colleges, he left school without a degree but with a strong desire to be a media weatherman. He phoned WCBS-TV, introducing himself as a Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia U. The phony degree got him in the door. After a two-month tryout, he was hired as an off-camera forecaster for WCBS. 

    For the next decade his career flourished. He became widely known as "Dr. Bob." He was also hired by the New York Times as a consulting meteorologist. The same year both the Long Island Railroad and then Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn hired him. Forty years of age and living his childhood dream, he found himself in public disgrace and national humiliation when an anonymous letter prompted WCBS management to investigate his academic credentials. 

    Both the station and the New York Times fire him. His story got attention across the land. He was on the Today Show, the Tomorrow Show, and in People Weekly, among others. He thought he'd lose his home and never work in the media again. Several days later the Long Island Railroad and Bowie Kuhn announced they would not fire him. Then WNEW-TV gave him a job. He admits it was a dreadful mistake on his part and doubtless played a role in his divorce. "I took a shortcut that turned out to be the long way around, and one day the bill came due. I will be sorry as long as I am alive."

    Nancy Shulins, Journal News, Nyack, NY.


    As professional golfer Ray Floyd was getting ready to tap in a routine 9-inch putt, he saw the ball move ever so slightly. According to the rule book, if the ball moves in this way the golfer must take a penalty stroke. Yet consider the situation. Floyd was among the leaders in a tournament offering a top prize of $108,000. To acknowledge that the ball had moved could mean he would lose his chance for big money.

    Writer David Holahan describes as follows what others might have done: "The athlete ducks his head and flails wildly with his hands, as if being attacked by a killer bee; next, he steps back from the ball, rubbing his eye for a phantom speck of dust, all the while scanning his playing partners and the gallery for any sign that the ball's movement has been detected by others. If the coast is clear, he taps the ball in for his par. Ray Floyd, however, didn't do that. He assessed himself a penalty stroke and wound up with a bogey on the hole.

    Source Unknown.


    In the last 1980's in Columbus, Ohio, an armored car spilled $2,000,000 on the freeway. Only $400,000 was ever recovered, the rest disappeared with the throngs of people who stopped and scooped up the cash. Some folks were honest enough to return what wasn't theirs: Melvin Kaiser gave back $57,000. Those who have studied human personality say that if we know the people who lost the money, we'll generally give it back. However, if we don't know them, 75% of the time we'll keep the cash.

    Source Unknown.


    In his early years, American landscape photographer Ansel Adams studied piano and showed some talent. At one party, however, as Adams played Chopin's F Major Nocturne he recalled that "In some strange way my right had started off in F-sharp major while my left had behaved well in F-major. I could not bring them together. I went through the entire nocturne with the hands separated by a half-step."

    The next day a fellow guest gave Adams a no-nonsense review of his performance: "You never missed a wrong note!" 

    Daily Walk, May 14, 1992.


    Coming from a big city, my friend David wasn't prepared for the approach rural Maine businessmen take toward their customers. Shortly after David moved there, he rented a rototiller. The store owner showed him how it worked and explained that the charge was not based on how many hours he had it out, but rather how long it was actually used. Looking over the tiller for some king of meter, David asked, "How will you know how long I've used it?" With a puzzled look, the owner simply said, "You tell me."

    Loren Morse, Reader's Digest, March 1991.


    I recently saw the story of a high school values clarification class conducted by a teacher in Teaneck, New Jersey. A girl in the class had found a purse containing $1000 and returned it to its owner. The teacher asked for the class's reaction. Every single one of her fellow students concluded the girl had been "foolish." Most of the students contended that if someone is careless, they should be punished. When the teacher was asked what he said to the students, he responded, "Well, of course, I didn't say anything. If I come from the position of what is right and what is wrong, then I'm not their counselor. I can't impose my views." 

    It's no wonder that J. Allen Smith, considered a father of many modern education reforms, concluded in the end, "The trouble with us reformers is that we've made reform a crusade against all standards. Well, we've smashed them all, and now neither we nor anybody else have anything left." 

    Senator Dan Coats, Imprimis, Vol. 20, No. 9, September 1991.


    A number of years ago the Douglas Aircraft company was competing with Boeing to sell Eastern Airlines its first big jets. War hero Eddie Rickenbacker, the head of Eastern Airlines, reportedly told Donald Douglas that the specifications and claims made by Douglas's company for the DC-8 were close to Boeing's on everything except noise suppression. Rickenbacker then gave Douglas one last chance to out-promise Boeing on this feature.

    After consulting with his engineers, Douglas reported that he didn't feel he could make that promise. Rickenbacker replied, "I know you can't, I just wanted to see if you were still honest."

    Today in the Word, October, 1991, p. 22.


    The little boy was sent by his mother to buy a 65 cent loaf of bread. While the baker was putting the bread into a bag, the boy noticed that the loaf looked rather small. "Isn't that a small loaf of bread for 65 cents?" 

    "You'll have less to carry," replied the baker. The boy put 50 cents on the counter. "You're 15 cents short," said the baker. 

    "That's right, " replied the boy. "You'll have less to count."

    Source Unknown.


    A USA Today poll found that only 56% of American teach honesty to their children. And a Louis Harris poll turned up the distressing fact that 65% of high school students would cheat on an important exam. Recently a noted physician appeared on a network news-and-talk show and proclaimed, "Lying is an important part of social life, and children who are unable to do it are children who may have developmental problems." 

    Daily Bread, September 23, 1991.


    The first governor-general of Australia was a man by the name of Lord Hopetoun. One of his most cherished possessions was a 300 year old ledger he had inherited from John Hope, one of his ancestors. Hope had owned a business in Edinburgh, where he first used this old ledger. When Lord Hopetoun received it, he noticed that it had inscribed on its front page this prayer, "O Lord, keep me and this book honest!"

    Source Unknown.


    Back in Boston in the mid-1960s, Bill Russell was the star basketball center for the world-champion Celtics. It was fun watching him and his team play at the Boston Garden. He dominated the boards, and with effortless ease, he seemed to take charge of the whole court once the game got underway. The whole team revolved around his larger-than-life presence. Sports fans watch him from a distance, respecting his command of the sport. Then, in a radio interview, I heard a comment from Russell that immediately made me feel closer to him, though I have never met the man. 

    The sports reporter asked the all-pro basketball star if he ever got nervous. Russell's answer was surprising. He said, in his inimitable style of blunt honesty, "Before every game, I vomit." 

    Shocked, the sportscaster asked what he did if they played two games the same day. Unflappable Russell replied, "I vomit twice." 

    C. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening, Word, 1990, p. 203.


    Last winter, a lowly paid waiter in a major city found a briefcase containing cash and negotiables in a parking lot--and no owner in sight. No one saw the waiter find it and put it in his car in the wee hours of the morning. But for the waiter, there was never any question of what to do. He took the briefcase home, opened it, and searched for the owner's identity. The next day he made a few phone calls, located the distressed owner, and returned the briefcase--along with the $25,000 cash it contained! 

    The surprising thing about this episode was the ridicule the waiter experienced at the hands of his friends and peers. For the next week or so he was called a variety of names and laughed at, all because he possessed a quality the Bible holds in high regard: integrity. 

    Today in the Word, July, 1989, p. 18.


    In 1930, the mighty Yankee, Babe Ruth, was offered $80,000 a year. Some folks objected, pointing out that President Hoover made only $75,000. Said the Babe, apparently unperturbed, "I had a better year."

    Herm Albright in Beech Grove, Ind., Perry, Township Weekly.


    Some are honest only because they have never had opportunity to be dishonest.

    Traditional.


    A recent poll of 5000 students concluded that 46 percent of them would cheat on an important test. Thirty-six percent said they would cover for a friend who vandalized school property, while only 24 percent would tell the truth. Five percent would steal money from their parents if given the opportunity. 

    Moody Monthly, June, 1990, p. 8.


    Dr. Madison Sarratt taught mathematics at Vanderbilt University for many years. Before giving a test, the professor would admonish his class something like this: "Today I am giving two examinations--one in trigonometry and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. If you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who can't pass trig, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty." 

    George Sweeting.


    In his recent book Integrity, Ted Engstrom told his story: "For Coach Cleveland Stroud and the Bulldogs of Rockdale County High School (Conyers, Georgia), it was their championship season: 21 wins and 5 losses on the way to the Georgia boys' basketball tournament last March, then a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the state finals. But now the new glass trophy case outside the high school gymnasium is bare. 

    Earlier this month the Georgia High School Association deprived Rockdale County of the championship after school officials said that a player who was scholastically ineligible had played 45 seconds in the first of the school's five postseason games. 'We didn't know he was ineligible at the time; we didn't know it until a few weeks ago,' Mr. Stroud said. 'Some people have said we should have just kept quiet about it, that it was just 45 seconds and the player wasn't an impact player. But you've got to do what's honest and right and what the rules say. I told my team that people forget the scores of basketball games; they don't ever forget what you're made of.'"

    Ted Engstrom, Integrity.