Take 5: 08 January 2018 by Mdm Goh Yuh Mein
Good morning Mdm Tan, Mr Chung, Mrs Selva and Gessians, today I am here to share with you two stories on integrity.
Mr Kirk Mango a sports teacher for 34 years in Chicago shared his story online. Ten years ago, he was walking in from the softball field with his class talking to his students. He happened to look behind him and noticed a student at the back leave the side walk to retrieve a tennis ball left in the parking lot. It was likely left from the previous tennis class.
His student picked up the tennis ball and promptly started bouncing and catching it as they all walked to the door of the school. Upon entering the school he held back a little, allowing students to pass him, and waited for the student who had retrieved the tennis ball to catch up to where he was.
As they met, he walked with this student toward the locker room and promptly asked him for the tennis ball so he could return it to the basket for use by upcoming tennis classes. His response was “I found it…I get to keep it.” Mr Kirk smiled, thinking he was kidding, and politely repeated his request.
The student again indicated that the ball was his because he had found it, this time stating “finders keepers…”.
Continuing down the hall together, Mr Kirk then asked if he really believed that anything he finds becomes his, automatically, without any consideration to whom may have lost it, how it came to be where it was found, or any other mistake someone might have made. Without any hesitation…the student said “yes.”
“Really?” Mr Kirk asked. The student again nodded his head.
He then said…“So, what if someone were to say…deposit their pay checque at the drive up window of their bank, asking for $100 cash in return out of that deposit, and the teller sent back $700.00 cash along with the slip indicating the original deposit was not changed (meaning that $600 extra money was mistakenly sent back)…what should happen to that $600 extra dollars the teller mistakenly gave out?”
The student said the person who got that money should just keep it.
He then asked what about the tellers who might lose their job with a drawer that is $600 short at the end of their working day. The student said: “that is too bad…they should not have made the mistake…that it was their problem…”too bad so sad”…he said.
He then told the student that the story he just told him actually happened. The student was surprised. Mr Kirk continued stating that the person who was given that mistaken $600 gave it right back letting the teller know they had made a mistake. The student’s response…“what fool would do that to give back $600 free money.”
Mr Kirk responded…“I did.”
His point to the student was that even though many of his peers make the same choice of not returning lost items, the student should always have the courage to make the right choice guided by his integrity.
Nearer to home, In Singapore, there is a good story of integrity which I would like to share with you. In 2016, Jonathon Chua, a Raffles Institution football striker had rejected a penalty after which he was fouled in the penalty box. The game was played on Friday, April 22. RI were trailing 1–2 against Anglo-Chinese Junior College and the penalty was given with 12 minutes to go in a National Schools A Division Football Championship Round 2 match. RI could have levelled the score at 2–2 through the penalty. Instead, in a display of integrity, Jonathan successfully persuaded the referee to retract the penalty decision because he said the defender did not touch him. RI went on to lose the game 1–3.
According to Mr Melvin Tan, who is RI’s track and field head coach and who also coached football at Catholic Junior College and Victoria Junior College, it is no surprise that the story has struck a chord with many people.
He explained, “In a world where winning is of utmost importance, many would resort to unscrupulous or dishonest ways to achieve their goal. So for someone to demonstrate honesty and integrity in a crucial game situation, it is really something out of the ordinary. And that is why so many people have highlighted this incident, with the hope that we can uphold such values in sports.”
It is hoped that through these two stories you learnt what integrity means. Remember, even when no one is looking, you must have be guided by the value of integrity and have the courage to do the right thing.
In conclusion, Gessians I would like you to ponder through these questions
- Why is having integrity important?
- What would you do when you find something that is not yours? Why?
- Even if no one is looking, why is it important to follow the school rules?