“Today is the worst day of my life!” Becky cried as she ran straight to her room. A few minutes later, Mom came in. “What happened at school today, Becky? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, Mom, it’s just horrible,” Becky said. “You know how hard I’ve been working on my community service project for school?”
“Yes. The children at the shelter will really appreciate the extra help with their homework and the used books you’ve been collecting,” Mom said.
Becky nodded. “Well, a little while ago I told Elisabeth about my project. She was having a hard time thinking of one, so I thought it would help her get her own idea. But today, when she presented her project, it was my project idea! I’m supposed to present mine tomorrow, and everyone will think I copied her!”
“I’m sorry, Becky. I bet you really feel bad.” Mom hugged Becky tightly.
“I feel worse than bad, Mom. I feel so mad. I thought she was my friend! How could she do this?”
“That is a hard question. What do you think?”
Becky frowned. “Sometimes it seems like it’s more important to get a good grade or have people think you are cool than to be honest. I don’t think Elisabeth even feels bad at all. Maybe I should copy someone else’s project, too. Or maybe I should embarrass Elisabeth in front of the whole school!”
“You wouldn’t really want to do that, would you, Becky?” Mom asked.
Becky buried her head under her pillow and moaned. “No.”
“Why?” Mom asked.
“In Primary we learned about the six Bs that President Hinckley taught. One of them was to be true. Sister MacArthur said that meant that we should have integrity—that we should do what’s right, no matter what,” Becky said.
“That’s right,” Mom said. “Integrity means you are incorruptible—that no one can make you do the wrong thing.”
“Nobody’s incorruptible, Mom!” Becky exclaimed.
“I don’t know about that, Becky. The scriptures teach us about some people who were. One of them was Job. Even though he lost his riches, his health, and even his family, he said, ’Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.’* His example showed that no matter what happens, you still have control over the way you respond.”
“Are there any other examples?” Becky asked.
“Well, yes. Helaman’s stripling warriors are known for their courage and strength, but did you know that the scriptures also say they were true at all times?**“
Becky sighed. “I want to be like that. But I still don’t know what to do about my project!”
“The answer may not be an easy one,” Mom said, “but if you ask, Heavenly Father will help you.”
That night and the next morning, Becky stayed a little longer on her knees in prayer. Even though she wasn’t sure what she was going to do, she had a calm, peaceful feeling inside.
When she arrived at school, she saw Elisabeth standing alone by the drinking fountain. Becky took a deep breath and walked toward her.
“Hi,” Elisabeth said uneasily.
“Hi. Can I talk to you about the service project?”
Elisabeth’s face turned red and her jaw tightened. At first she looked like she might run away, but after a minute she looked up at Becky. “Um, Becky, I’m sorry for copying your idea. My grandma is a school librarian, and she sent me a whole box of books that her school didn’t need anymore. I thought about how great the books would be for the kids at the shelter. I guess I just got carried away, and before I knew it, I turned it into my project.”
Becky had to admit that Elisabeth had brought in more books than she could ever have collected on her own.
“But now I don’t have a project,” Becky said. Just then, the bell rang.
“Maybe you still do,” Elisabeth said as she grabbed Becky’s arm and pulled her towards class.
Elisabeth started to cry a little when she told Mrs. Taramoto that she had copied Becky’s project. Becky thought it took a lot of courage to admit what she had done. Elisabeth said she had an idea how to help Becky with her presentation, so Mrs. Taramoto let them have a little extra time before lunch to make a plan.
Usually standing before a lot of people made Becky nervous, but this time she wasn’t very anxious at all. After she explained that she and Elisabeth were going to work together on their service project to create an entire library for the shelter and a homework tutoring center, several children came up to her and asked if they could sign up to be homework helpers or donate some books to the shelter library, too.
The following Sunday in Primary, Sister MacArthur asked the class to think of songs that could represent each one of President Hinckley’s six Bs. Becky and Elisabeth raised their hands at the same time. “Army of Helaman,” they both said. As she sang, Becky thought of the stripling warriors and how they worked together. She also thought of how they were true at all times. She smiled and sang a little louder. It felt good to know she could also be true, no matter what.
“Integrity means always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences.”
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Personal Integrity,” Ensign, May 1990, 30.