Cheat or No Cheat?

ThursdayOn Friday evening, Justin pulled me aside and said, “Daddy, I have to tell you something.” I was not prepared for the honesty that was about to follow.

“Ok Justin, what do you want to tell me?” I asked inquisitively.

He paused for a moment and said, “I got a 100 on my spelling test.” (This did not seem like Earthshattering news.) And then he confessed, “I cheated.”

Just to be clear, I am not a saint. I have cheated from time to time. Unbeknownst to Tammy Parks and Greta Jackson, I would not have graduated from high school if it weren’t for their poorly covered Spanish tests. (Gracias!) I appreciate the fact that my college biology teacher, Mr. Druger, was too busy to realize that I handed in the same biology paper three separate times in the same semester…and it was written by someone else…and it wasn’t on biology. (It’s amazing what a Syracuse freshman will do for a 6 pack of Old Milwaukee.) Without incriminating myself any further, I think we’ve established that I know a cheat when I see a cheat.

I looked down at my son and asked, “How exactly did you cheat? Did you look at someone else’s paper?”

He looked down at his shoes and quietly explained that one of his spelling test words was “Thursday.” He was having a hard time with the word when all of a sudden he realized that his teacher hadn’t removed the calendar from the room. He quickly copied the word off the calendar and then handed in his test.

What I wanted to do was pat him on the back and explain, “That’s not cheating. That’s called ‘Taking Advantage of an Opportunity!’ With that skill, you’ll go far in life!” Instead, I thanked him for being honest and I asked him to keep his eyes on his own paper from now on.

And to those “few” people I cheated off of in school, I have one thing to say – I really wish you had studied harder. It’s no fun cheating off of someone who doesn’t know the answer either!

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