Character Discovery

I once had a dual enrollment student who borrowed a pocket flashlight – when I put it in his hand, he said, “Wow, I really like this one..”
At the end of his class I asked him to return my light – he said it was “over there,” pointing to a bench in the middle of the shop, and left. The next day he admitted he had taken it home and had forgotten to bring it back. The light didn’t cost much, but it didn’t belong to him – finally, after about a week of being asked about it every day, he told me he had lost it and didn’t even know where it was.
This was a very educational experience concerning the character of that student. If he would blatantly take something as insignificant as a $10 flashlight, who knows what he would steal when nobody was watching.
He dropped out before the end of the term, and when he wanted to come back the following term, I wouldn’t take him as an enrollee.
There were a couple of other students who dropped out and went to work for a local company. Both of them were fired from that company for using the company gas card to gas up their own vehicles.
I had still two other students who enrolled for a second semester but couldn’t attend because they had been arrested for burglary. When I asked one of them next time I saw him what that was about, he said,
“We were breaking into a house.”
There was yet another student who dropped out and later proudly showed a friend some of the tools he had stolen from the school.
Don’t get me wrong – most of my people have good character – but the ones who don’t have character and integrity really stand out.
What’s so scary is that if one of these people graduates without revealing his lack of character and I place him in a job where he turns out to be a thief, it’s bad for him and really bad for me and the institution I work for.

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