To Cheat or Not to Cheat?

By Jon Clark

(Based on a true story)

The author lives in Tennessee, USA.

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Ms. Mori’s back was turned. Perfect.

“Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me” (Job 27:5).

To Cheat or Not to Cheat?

“Remember to keep your eyes on your own paper,” Ms. Mori said.

Nathan stared at his test. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his friend Jason flip open his math test and start writing. Nathan sighed.

“Something wrong?” Ms. Mori asked.

“No, ma’am,” Nathan said quietly. But that wasn’t totally true. Unlike Jason, Nathan couldn’t stand math. He didn’t hate all schoolwork—someday he wanted to paint like Da Vinci or write like Shakespeare. In those subjects, there was usually more than one right answer to a question. But in math, there was only one correct answer. Just one! And Nathan never seemed to get it.

“Psst!” Jason whispered. He flicked a crumpled paper under Nathan’s chair. At first Nathan thought Jason was teasing him. But then Jason grinned and tapped his test, and Nathan knew what was on the paper—the answers!

He looked up. Ms. Mori’s back was turned. Now was the perfect time to grab the paper! This could be one math test he didn’t fail.

Nathan stretched to snatch the paper off the floor …

To cheat or not to cheat—that is the question, Nathan thought, borrowing a line from Shakespeare. As soon as he asked the question, he knew the answer. Nathan kicked the answers back under Jason’s desk. He had already decided to never cheat, no matter how tempting it was.

At the end of class, Nathan still didn’t like math. But he was glad he chose the right, even though he probably didn’t do well on the test. Maybe Jason could help him study for the next one.

Just like math, Nathan thought, when it comes to choosing whether to cheat, there’s only one right answer. He was glad he’d passed.