Lessons for a 5th Grader

I remember channel surfing once when a show caught my attention: “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.” Although I’d heard about the show, this was my first (and last) time watching it.Lessons for a 5th Grader

Overall, I fared better than the contestant, but then I didn’t have the pressure of a live audience and irksome host. I found it all to be mildly interesting.Remember, today's kids will be tomorrow's leaders. Click To Tweet

What caught my attention, however, was that two opportunities to “cheat” were given to the contestant. If he was unsure of an answer, he could opt to “peak” or to “copy” from his fifth grade classmates—and he did!

How incredibly insane, promoting cheating in the same context as highlighting fifth grade knowledge. With examples such as that, it is any wonder that cheating and plagiarism is reportedly rampant in schools and colleges? How about lying on job applications, embellishing resume facts, fabricating degrees, padding expense accounts, lying to congress, defrauding shareholders, spinning the news, cover ups, and the overall belief that the ends justify the means?

I’m not blaming all this on one simplistic game show, but that game show is perpetuating the mindset that it is okay to forgo integrity in favor of expedience. That conclusion has been building for years. Yet, the elementary school children who are watching this show now have one more example encouraging cheating.

Remember, it is these same people who will be tomorrow’s leaders—and it doesn’t seem that ethics and honesty have much of a chance.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.


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