When I was a young boy, my father owned a hardware store in our small town. Later he formed a partnership with two other men, and together they expanded the business.
One day I decided I needed a pocketknife. I went to the store and found the case where the knives were kept. I picked out the knife I wanted and put it in my pocket. While I was still standing by the knife cabinet, my father came up to me and asked what I was doing.
I explained to him that I needed a knife and had selected one from the store case. He very kindly and patiently explained to me that the knife did not belong just to him. Two-thirds of the knife belonged to his partners. Therefore he told me that I must put it back, because it was not his to give nor mine to take.
This lesson in honesty made a real impression on me. I have always appreciated my father’s taking the time to teach me right from wrong. Because he respected the rights of others and was honest in his dealings, his life was a constant example to me.
When honesty is our companion, we are not tempted to do things that will cause unhappy memories. We should not keep money that is not rightfully ours, copy others’ schoolwork, cheat on tests, tell lies, nor take anything that does not belong to us. When we deal honestly with our friends, we also deal fairly with ourselves.
My father also taught me to be honest about keeping the Sabbath day holy. As a young boy, I remember how he enjoyed playing baseball, but he never played a game on the Sabbath. I too loved this sport. My father asked me not to ever play ball on Sunday, and I promised to obey his wishes.
I kept that promise even though at one time I was offered a chance to try out for big league baseball. It was easier to let this opportunity go by when I thought of the example of my father and had so much respect for him.
I am grateful for my parents who understood what was right and taught me daily lessons in fairness, integrity, and honesty.