Monday, January 07, 2013

Doing What’s Right

My friend Jerry Gaither was a county superintendent of schools when it was an elected position, subject to the whims of electoral politics.  He also served during a time when folks here in Tennessee were dealing with significant issues relate to racial integration.  Jerry learned a lot as an administrator, challenging him to grow as a believer.

Several years ago, Jerry shared with me one sheet of paper he entitled “Decision Making: An Administrator’s Ethics Test.”  I provide it here for your consideration.

1.     Will I be violating board policy, the law, or the rights of others?

2.     Is it equitable?  Can I sit down around a table and face all parties concerned at the same time?  Does it promote wholesome relationships? Can I look in the mirror and feel good about myself?

3.    Is it explainable?  By this I mean, is it explainable in a clear and concise manner that the general public can understand?

4.   Will it leave me with a clear conscience? Will it make me proud? Will it stand the light-of-day,   tomorrow as well as today?  Would I feel good if my family knew about it?  Could I kneel in my bedroom and pray, “Dear Lord, I have done my best; give me what I deserve”?

These are simple but profound questions.  Jerry’s words remind me of those that Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Polonius:  “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  They are a challenge to me to be wise in both personal and public decision making.


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