This is Michael Josephson with something to think about.

Chad and three of his friends were college seniors and they all had to take an important physics exam on Monday. Chad persuaded his buddies to take a weekend trip several hundred miles away to go to a rock concert. They all agreed they would study in the car driving there and back, but it never happened that way.

Instead, the boys partied all weekend and when they got back home late Sunday night they began to panic, knowing there was no way they would be ready for the exam. 

Chad called the professor first thing Monday morning and told him that they were all ready and prepared for the exam but they couldn’t get there on time because they got a flat tire, didn’t have a spare, and couldn’t get help. Chad convinced the professor to let them take a make-up exam.

When the boys showed up for makeup exam, the professor handed each a test booklet and put them in separate rooms. The first question, worth 5 points, was easy, but the second question, worth 95 points threw them for a loop: “Which tire was flat, and what time did the repair truck finally come?”

Chad’s exam booklet had an additional note:  “You took two exams today. One on physics; the other on integrity. By the way, I just received a reference request from Harvard. How you do on this exam will determine how I fill it out.”

This story teaches two lessons:  First, “you can dodge your responsibilities, but you can’t dodge the consequences of dodging your responsibilities.”  Second, attempting to avoid the consequences of irresponsibility by lies and cover-ups always makes things worse – much worse.

Think about this: Was Chad’s lie or little? How big does it look from the professor’s point of view? Is it fair for the professor to hold the lie against Chad on the Harvard reference? Finally, fair or not, do you think the professor’s reaction is something Chad should have considered before he decided to lie?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character really does count.

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