The Fair Way by Jared Holland

The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Jared Holland, First Place
Grade 7, Coastal Christian School
Teacher: Misty Sano Principle: Larry Hoekman

The Rotary 4-Way Test assists me in analyzing every large decision I am about to make. It breaks down difficult situations into four uncomplicated questions. First, is it truthful? Second, is it fair to all concerned? Third, will it build goodwill and better friendships, and lastly, will it be beneficial to all concerned? Throughout my life, my parents have tried to instill these positive qualities into the way I treat other around me, especially my siblings, but the 4-Way Test is a perfect road map to use when my path becomes a little rocky and unclear.

On a certain Monday morning, I walked into my science classroom and looked on the board at the agenda for the day. I suddenly became very distraught, because my teacher had written Jared mid-term make-up test. I had been absent from school the week before and knew I should have studied for that test, but like every well-meaning 7th grade student, I honestly forgot to.

Before I even had a chance to sit at my desk and hope that my teacher forgot to look at the board to see the note she had written, Miss Miller walked in, handed me stapled sheets of paper, and directed me to go to the library to take the test. With every step to the dreaded building, my heart thumped against my chest. I frantically deliberated the choices in front of me, while taking a seat in the corner of the school library. I drowned in an ocean of panic and hurriedly unzipped my backpack. There it was. My science book. My body relaxed in relief as if a hundred pound weight I carried on my shoulders had been released. I glanced around the library. I was the only person there. A tempting thought arose from the depths of my brain. It would be so easy to cheat on this test to receive a good grade.

“It’s not honest!” My conscience screamed in protest.

I shook my head as my mind fought to make a decision. I felt frozen unable to choose between grabbing the book in my backpack or turn away and grab the pencil on the table. Cheating guaranteed I would get an excellent grade, but I would have to be deceitful with my actions. The Bible says, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment” (Proverbs 14:25).  Even if I didn’t tell a lie with my lips, giving a test I cheated on to my teacher for an honest grade be a lie. It doesn’t matter if even the thought of cheating gave me a good feeling at first. It would not be truthful.

But the sneaky thought replied,  “It’s not your fault. You forgot all about the test.” I felt my hand reach again for the book, but I stopped. If I cheated on my test would it fair to the rest of my science class? I doubt I am the only student in the school who felt unprepared to take the test. There are even those who have been in my shoes. Classmates that have completely forgotten to study, but still took the test fair and square.  According to, Groucho Marx once said, “The secret of life is fair dealing.” I realized if I cheated, it would not be fair to many people. First, it would not be fair to me. I should earn an exemplary grade, not let it just be handed to me. Second, my teacher expects her student’s grades to reflect their proficiency in the material she is teaching. It would not be fair to her if she thinks I understand all of the material from science class, because of a fake grade. Lastly, it would not be fair to my science class, who already took the test, whether or not they were ready.

I picked up the pencil on my desk and began to write my name at the top of the paper, but out of the corner of my eye, I could see the cover of my science book calling to me. No one would know, the voice hissed in my head, but what if someone found out? I could hurt the relationships I have. My teachers, parents, and friends wouldn’t be able to trust me. If I took advantage of the privilege to take my test in the library, I might have to take my next make-up test during lunch break! My parents would probably trade my free time at home with more chores as a punishment for cheating, and my friends would also be angry because they took the test without any extra help. I don’t want to weaken relationships, I thought, as I looked away from my book and back towards the paper. I would rather fortify and preserve the bonds of trust and friendship I have.

As I began to read through the questions on the test, the panic mounted. I couldn’t remember any of this material! I couldn’t recall a single answer. My eyes whipped again to my open backpack to where my science book lay. If only I could take tiny peek at the chapter. Among the chaos inside my skull a still, small voice whispered “God sees you.” That did it. I reached down towards my backpack. ZZIIIIPPP. Without a second glance at the book,  I closed my backpack, picked up my pencil, and began to answer the first question on the test.

I refused to cheat, although the temptation urged me to. Many people benefitted from my decision to make that bad choice. For instance, if I had been found cheating. my teacher would have to spend more of her already short time supervising me during make-up tests, meeting with my parents, and even telling the principal what I had done. My parents would have been disappointed in me and would have to be careful about what they would and would not allow me to do for a long time. The one who benefitted the most out of my honesty was myself! Next time I am faced with a difficult situation, I can remember that I had the self-control to hold myself up to a high standard of honesty and integrity.  Looking back, I realize that if I had gone through with the deception that one hundred pound weight from page one would have been slammed right back onto my shoulders, and I would have been forced to carry that guilt along with me.

On paper the struggle of whether or not to cheat, took over three pages to relay, but in reality my brain went through this thought process in less than a minute. During the conundrum my brain immediately went to the pressure of getting a good grade without taking a moment to heed the potential consequences. To avoid the potential temptation to cheat on tests altogether, I am now more diligent in my studying. The Rotary 4-way Test, has not only helped me in making well-guided decisions, but also leads me to form better habits in my day to day life. Everyday, I do my best to exercise positive actions that brings happiness to not only me, but everyone around me.

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