What do you mean you don't know me? I'm your conscience
There are countless occasions in our daily lives when we are at ethical crossroads.
Please help me! That was the subject line of my 15-year-old son's e-mail to his mother at 7.41 am in the morning, 19 minutes before his school officially opens. I'm sure she had a mild panic attack before she could open the mail and read its contents. 'What's wrong with this boy' I heard her muttering to herself as I entered the house after dropping off the kids to their respective schools. The thing was that my eager beaver of a son has taken it upon himself to prepare a bunch of his school's junior children for an annual math entrance test. To do so, he's had sleepless nights and forgone his lunch break for over a month, spending hours in creating modules, researching the basics of tutoring, convincing teachers and creating posters and marketing his ECA (extra-curricular activity) to potential learners. It's back-breaking work, of course, but he's immensely proud of the fact that he's in a position to help his younger schoolmates reach a notch higher in academics.
Yesterday, two of his classmates happened to, in his words, intrude into his ECA with the excuse of assisting him. "They only want to score brownie points with the teacher without any intention of helping out," he wrote to his mom. "Besides, I've worked really hard and don't want to now share credit when it's been running smoothly for a couple of months. How could they even ask to be a part of it?" Was it really improper of the kids to want to participate in someone else's project because it could earn them goodwill without having to invest a lot of effort? There are countless occasions in our daily lives when we are at ethical crossroads. An opportunity to take credit for a colleague's work, an under-billed invoice, cheating classmates.it could be anywhere - at school, in office, at home, at a social gathering, in public transport. Everyone has a conscience and it has a voice. It is whether we decide to listen to that voice or ignore it that makes us the person we are.