My senior class was the first class in our school’s history to have Senior Skip Day revoked. Not because something we had done, but because a senior the year before had set something on fire.
We were livid, filled with rage at the general unfairness that teenagers fight against every day of their narcissistic existence. We were going to fight this by skipping school anyway. It was only fair.
Being a serial confessor, I told my mother about our plan the night before we skipped school She said, That’s your decision, but I will not write you an excuse nor will I cover for you if the office calls me.
So, I made the decision every 17-year-old would make — I skipped school. And it was good.
The next school day, our first period teacher asked for notes. Since her class had only two students the day before, she had probably put two and two together. She looked over her reading glasses with disdain.
One at a time, my friends handed in their forged notes. The teacher sneered, but accepted them. Then it was my turn.
I decided to be the Norma Rae of school skipping.
I walked up to her desk and said, I don’t have a note from my parents, because I skipped school yesterday.
I could hear the gasp from my friends who were terrified I was going to roll over on them. I didn’t.
The teacher looked at me and said, Fine. I commend you for confessing. I am also giving you a zero on your next three papers.
I went from a noble Norma Rae to a furious Braveheart in about 2 seconds.
ARE YOU KIDDING? I asked, incredulous at the unfairness of it all. You’re going to punish me for telling the truth? That’s not fair!
I stormed to my desk waiting for her apology. Instead, she told me I had to stay after school.
The final school bell rang, and I walked slowly into her office. She sat me down and said:
Donna – there are a lot of liars and cheaters in this world. Today you chose not to be one of them. But you still skipped school, so you’ll live with the consequences.
I worked my butt off to make-up for those zeroes.
And I watched my friends spend the next few weeks wondering if anybody was going to call their parents.
I had paid my price, and lived with the consequences. I didn’t realize it then, but that incident taught me to always consider one thing when choosing a less than honorable behavior. I always ask myself:
Is it worth the consequences?
That doesn’t mean I always make the right decision, but at least I consider the right question.