If you had been one of those surveyed to finish the sentence that follows, what would have been your answer?
“When people in 50 countries were asked to report their guiding principles in life, the value that mattered most was . . . .”
Please answer honestly, and not reply ‘honesty’ simply because you know that this coming April 30 is National Honesty Day – the day Psychics Universe says is “a reminder that we should be upright and forthcoming.”
Given the daily headlines that herald a suspected rampant dishonesty seemingly more typical than not among politicians, preacher-types, and just plain people in general, one day set aside for honesty is a rather comical commentary on our culture than a remonstrative reminder to have done with “the tricks, deceits and falsehoods” commonly associated with the first day of April.
It’s an annual affair – these 24 hours set aside to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – and then, on May 1, we can go back to being who we are.
Speaking of affairs, or close-proximity-thereto and the ok-until-caught modus operandi of the aforementioned politicians – U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La. – “a married freshman Republican congressman who campaigned on his Christian, conservative values apologized after surveillance video surfaced purportedly showing him in a lengthy liplock with a staffer who is also married.”
McAllister has since backed off on his request for an FBI investigation into who leaked the video.
On the other side of the aisle – and the barricade at the Bundy family ranch in Nevada – was (he’s backed down, for now) Nevada’s Harry Mason Reid, senior United States Senator and a member of the Democratic Party, which party has escaped little in the way of scandalous scrutiny of late.
“Mr. Reid has been accused of attempting to shut down the ranch in order to move ahead with two nearby solar energy projects, an accusation denied Monday by the senator’s press aide” who said “there is no truth to the conspiracy theories that are being pushed by right-wing media outlets.”
The truth – explanation, derivation, deviation or distinction depending on who you decide to believe – rather concerns “more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees” and thus it’s the money owed – not the money to be made – that resulted in the roundup of Bundy’s cattle, seized by federal agents.
Or so they say.
In the meantime, for now anyway, the cows have returned home.
Truth be told, we may not know the truth on this or any other matter until April 30 – the day set aside for telling it.
Then, at least the Psychics say, we shall – or should – all be “upright and forthcoming.”
Turns out ‘honesty’ was not, after all, what was above all on respondents’ minds when asked what quality, value or virtue parents want most for their kids.
Nor was it hedonism.
Actually, and thankfully, hedonism – “the idea that pleasure is the highest good” as espoused by Aristippus, a student of Socrates – ranked in the middle of the responses.
And it wasn’t power, tradition, security, conformity, or even achievement.
But sadly neither was it honesty which, honestly, didn’t even make the list. Nor did its 1st and 2nd cousins integrity and transparency.
The number one child-rearing goal of parents rather concerned caring, benevolence, compassion, kindness, and like-soft and sentimental, get-along-with-others, one-world endearing qualities.
Samples from 13 nations replicated school teachers in 56 nations and college students in 54 nations that similarly characterized the top of the list of parents in the United States – from European, Asian, Hispanic and African ethnic groups.
“All placed far greater importance on caring than achievement” or anything else.
And it’s not going to happen.
“In an Israeli study of nearly 600 families, parents who valued kindness and compassion frequently failed to raise children who shared those values.”
That’s because, research showed, an emphasis upon caring before honesty is to have placed the proverbial cart before the horse.
“An honest desire to do right,” wrote Matthew Henry, “preserves a man from fatal mistakes, better than a thousand fine-drawn distinctions.”
Caring does not lead the list. It follows.
Better than anything else; better than a thousand explanations; better than campaign promises ad nauseam – honesty, if the truth were known, remains the best policy.