Where did all the honesty go?

By Denae Jones – 

At the risk of sounding old, I have to say that I miss the days when we could make a deal on a handshake and be able to trust it would be carried through as promised. People used to simply keep their word. It was a badge of honor. If your name was on it, it meant something and you did right by it. Now, there are many times we have to have things put in writing, in a contract, notarized, or even court ordered to make sure the other party is legally obligated to hold up their end of a bargain. Coincidentally, as I was writing this, I scrolled through Facebook and saw three teenagers post this week that they can’t trust anybody anymore. It makes me sad because it seems their generation is missing something our generation used to have. Honesty. Where did all the honesty go? It seems people lie as nonchalantly as they pour themselves a glass of milk these days.
More and more people just flat out don’t act as if honesty and hard work is really as important as it used to be. Remember when it was downright shameful to be caught in a lie? Today the news is full of people lying, stealing, and cheating their way through life as if the commonality of it makes it okay. Theft is rampant. How can people feel they are entitled to have something for free that others had to work hard to pay for? We can’t get through a day without phone schemes, computer hacks, fake news, identity theft, and false advertising.
Stealing material possessions is one thing, but stealing someone’s time is bad too. We recently had to have several big jobs contracted out, and I can’t tell you how many times we scheduled to be off work to make sure we were home when the workers got here and they just wouldn’t show up. They wouldn’t call to say they weren’t showing up either. They just didn’t come. And this wasn’t the same people. It was different people for different jobs on different days. What happened to good work ethic? Or really wanting to do a great job for a customer and building a good name for your business? So we scratched them off our list and had to spend more time researching someone else to call. When we finally found someone, we would either have to use a day of vacation or wait a week until our next day off for them to come out. It’s so frustrating.
I don’t know about you, but one thing that will always keep me coming back to any business is good customer service. Whether it’s a restaurant, a department store, a contractor, a doctor or whatever it may be, it all comes down to the same thing. It’s refreshing when someone greets you with a smile, listens when you talk, and does whatever they can to help. It’s nice to be able to take someone at their word. I’m sure a list of people and businesses came to mind as you read those last couple of sentences, because they stick out for a reason. You trust them, and that’s something very valuable. If that is how you run your business, thank you!
I’m happy to say that we did finally find some really great guys that did very good work, and have others scheduled to do more. They called back right away. They were polite. They came up with several plans and went over them in detail. They called to let us know of any changes in appointment times and made sure it was convenient for us. They took pride in what they were doing, were knowledgeable, guaranteed their work, and didn’t overcharge. I made sure I called their boss to tell them what a great job they did for us. That’s a business I would call again and highly recommend to others.
So how do we change it? I don’t know what the answer is, but I guess the best thing is to start with each of us. We need to be the example. If a cashier doesn’t charge us enough, let the person behind us in line see us point out the mistake and pay the right amount. Let’s work hard while we are on the clock so we aren’t cheating our employer out of money. If we have children or grandchildren, or a young person who looks up to us, let’s show them how important it is to tell the truth. Then let them watch us do it. Let’s show them that honesty really is the best policy, even if it’s not the popular or easy thing to do. If we find something that doesn’t belong to us, let’s show them how to make a real attempt to find the rightful owner. ‘Finders keepers’ is a child’s game, not a right to ownership. If they see someone being dishonest in the news, let’s ask them what better choice that person could have made. Let’s show them how to “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” because the Golden Rule should never go out of style.
Have a blessed week, friends!