Zig Ziglar said, "Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity."
April 1 is a day of pranks and jokes. We celebrate untruths and fun. M. Hirsh Goldberg, an author and former press secretary, created a holiday in the 1990s to celebrate the truth. He chose April 30 as Honesty Day, not only because it was the last day of the month that began with falsehoods, but because it was also the anniversary of George Washington's first inauguration. Ironically, the story that associates Washington with honesty might be just a legend.
Is the Cherry Tree Myth True?
You know the story about Washington cutting down a cherry tree when he was a boy. He told his father that he could not tell a lie. His father praised him for his honesty. The myth was most likely created by Washington's first biographer. Americans clamored for information about the president following his death. The biographer wanted to show that Washington's rise to distinction was due to his "Great Virtues." The cherry tree is thought to have appeared in an 1806 edition of Washington's biography, but has lived on to this day. Some believe this is due to American values and Washington's legacy.
Washington did live by a list of rules of civility, which he copied when he was 16 years old. The maxims were guidelines for behavior when in the company of others and in the development of character. Most of them can be summed up in the first rule, "Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present." These maxims, which were written by Jesuit monks in the 17th century, were actually a system of courtesy for equals. America was founded on the idea that all men were created equal.
Goldberg's book "The Book of Lies: Fibs, Tales, Schemes, Scams, Fakes, and Frauds That Have Changed The Course of History and Affect Our Daily Lives" delves into honesty and lies. He estimates that most people lie about 200 times a day. This includes omissions and those little "white lies" that we tell ourselves don't really matter. Many people are less honest at work than they are at home.
Nurses have a reputation as the most honest profession. By comparison, lobbyists, salesmen and Congress members are considered the least honest. One study from the University of East Anglia found that honesty varies between countries. Where a person is raised has a direct relationship to how honest they are. People from 15 different countries were given tests of honesty. Those in the UK and Japan were found to be the most honest, while people from China and Turkey were the least truthful. Researchers also found that stereotypes about citizen's honesty was often inaccurate.
Tell the Truth on April 30
On April 30, the idea is that you can ask questions and get honest answers at least one day of the year, which is really kind of sad. Honesty Day was really created as a campaign against political lies. America is no stranger to lies in politics. In Italy, Honesty Day is celebrated before Christmas as a way to protest against commercial exploitation.
Goldberg gives out awards to those corporations and individuals who have remained true to the people they serve. PolitiFact is one organization that checks the facts from politicians and looks at the truth or dishonesty of what is being said. In this era of fake news, is it a sad state of affairs in America when we need a day to remind us to be honest and truthful?