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So when I was in school, i mean I remember there were the kids like you knew that could get the answers, were cheating on tests, were scurrying around homework and having other people give them. you know what’s problem one, five and seven. I remember those days and, quite frankly, if I’m being altogether honest, there were definitely times when I asked a neighbor or a friend for some answers on homework. I don’t know that I ever cheated on a test, but I do remember those days and cheating was a thing. It’s nothing new, but I think I have noticed this shift in culture where tolerance for cheating and accepting cheating as okay is a thing.
0:01:24 – Speaker 1
Well, i think with a lot of things we talk about with NextTalk, you know, some of these things that we deal with are completely new, like social media and nudes and YouTube and screen addiction. those kinds of things are new. But then we always talk about things that have been around forever but they’ve shifted right And things like you know, pornography and sexuality and how that shifted or changed strangers because of online stuff, and I think this is an example of that, because I think what you’re seeing in the culture of more tolerance for it, it’s because a lot of times, with the screens and the devices, it’s pictures and it’s through Snapchat and it’s. you know, you see the problem and it goes away, and so it’s almost like an underground kind of thing that happens now with phones And just like with nudes, you know, taking nude photos. they’ve been normalized. That was never a thing in our day because we weren’t walking around with all cameras everywhere, right, but nudes have been normalized. I think cheating has been normalized in kind of the same way.
0:02:29 – Speaker 2
Yeah, i definitely see that it’s been normalized and also just kind of brushed off. As you know what. We’ve got so many bigger problems, like there’s so much craziness out here right now. Like I’m just happy If my kids just cheating, i’m good with that. Like you know, they haven’t been arrested.
0:02:45 – Speaker 1
We don’t have a drug problem, so okay, cheating, it’s all right, yeah, and I get that, i do, i can see Ooh, that’s a red flag for kids And that’s the thing.
0:02:56 – Speaker 2
I think we can all get into this complacent place where, if they’re not doing these, whatever your big, like scary top five are, we can all come up with them. I’m sure, like here are the things I hope and pray my kid doesn’t struggle with. Most people are not going to say cheating in their top five, right. But it doesn’t mean it’s not a both and Like I don’t want those top five to happen. but it doesn’t mean that the other 20 moral compass conversations are not also important.
0:03:24 – Speaker 1
I mean, character matters right, and this is for me. I’m an Enneagram one, and so I think Tegredy here here we go, here we go, i’ll pass it back now, tegredy of this. In fact, i have to be real careful with my kids that I’m not always moral, compassing everything to death because I am not just a gift, Mandy. Sorry, Kim. sorry, I’m very difficult to get rid of I do know that.
But yeah, I mean, here’s the thing You know, I think about. We talk about how porn has changed and how it used to be so difficult to get a magazine. I mean, it was a covert operation, right. You sneak it from your buddy and then you sneak it in the house, and then you sneak, yeah, all the things right, And now it’s a click of a button, You can see anything in 4K crazy, right.
And I think cheating is kind of like that too. You know, back in the day we used to write on our hand or write on a piece of paper. Well, now you can program something into your Apple Watch and it’s right there, right. You know what I mean? It’s easier now to do it. I was asking my kids about this earlier. I was like tell me ways people cheat. And they were telling me, out of all these apps, that you can take a picture of a math problem and it just gives you the answer Yep, You know. And it’s easier now, And so I think what you’re saying is true because it’s easier. We’ve now moved the bar on where it is morally too. Yeah, Well, I mean, it’s flying under the radar.
0:04:59 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and we hear I have heard from many school administrators that are like you know, even if we catch kids red-handed and it’s like a big deal, like it’s on a big test or it’s on anything at all, and we bring in the kids and the parents, the parents are like, eh, like it used to be something that they would partner with their staff or with the school and say, yeah, that’s wrong, they need to retake it or whatever. So they’re really struggling with parents who are like it’s not that big of a deal. We also have teachers and administrators who are like the pressure is so high for performance that they’re also I mean, we’ve seen story after story in the news of them cheating as well to get numbers or to get stats a certain way because of how it affects funding. I mean there’s just so many layers here with cheating.
0:05:46 – Speaker 1
Well, in the college cheating scandal, with the parents who paid for their kids to get a spot in a college, right, i mean. So it’s almost like it’s well, and I’ve even seen people respond to that as well. I mean, she just wanted the best for her kids. What? Yes, my kids would be humiliated if I tried to undermine them in that way, like not make them work for what they have. Well, yeah, it’s just a whole. It’s a whole, i kind of think, a cultural concept of we deserve this, we don’t need to work. It’s that hard work ethic kind of thing. It’s kind of like going back to the basics. As I see, it?
0:06:24 – Speaker 2
Yeah, I think it’s. there’s a couple of different ways to look at this. I did look at some different statistics as we were getting ready for the show. I thought it was super interesting. According to a survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, of 12,000 high school students, 74% admitted to cheating on an exam at some point during the past year to get ahead. That really stood out to me, not the number 74%.
0:06:49 – Speaker 1
Even that I mean 74% is, it’s not shocking, but The majority.
0:06:54 – Speaker 2
I mean that they admitted it on a certain Well, and you have to account for those that didn’t admit, because they were like what if they catch us up with me?
0:07:01 – Speaker 1
And I feel that’s the thing. I think a lot of kids cheat and they don’t define it as cheating. It’s just well, i’m using my phone as research. Or I mean they condone it and they talk in circles of well, i’m using my phone for research.
0:07:16 – Speaker 2
Looking up on Google is not really cheating, is it And well, so that you know, the stats are like oh gosh and all of that. But what really stood out to me was the part at the end to get ahead. And the reason it stood out to me is because when we started doing our podcast, i remember multiple times us talking about the pressure that a lot of kids are feeling to get ahead or to be the best. And again, that’s not something new. But with social media Now you’re not just competing with your class, you’re competing with the whole world. Do I look the best? Do I have the best grades? Am I going to the best school? You know, did I win this award or get that scholarship Or something.
With sports, like, the comparison pool is so huge and so intense and so much a part of our kids’ lives Once they’re on social media that that desire to get ahead sometimes can cloud their judgment And so cheating suddenly becomes a means to an end that feels necessary. And unfortunately, with COVID and kids being at home and their whole world now was online If we thought it was online before, that just kind of amplified everything. This has gotten even worse, like stats that you see in stories. Any school will tell you the cheating just went through the roof during COVID and now after COVID.
0:08:35 – Speaker 1
Well and dang. It takes away the critical thinking that you know so much of what we’re seeing in our society today. It takes away basic skills from our kids that were there before that we’re missing now because we just go. It’s like a drive-thru. We just want easy and right away and instant gratification, and I think all of this plays into that of just it’s an easy way to get ahead without doing the work.
0:09:04 – Speaker 2
Yeah really good point, Really good point. So you know where we stand. It is a big to I mean it is important.
And, yes, it’s easy to brush it off. I can see that side of it too, with all the big things that we struggle with and worry about with our kids. But it is a big deal And we want to share a few reasons why we think it is. First of all, it’s an indicator that something’s off, and what I mean by that it could be a lot of different things. You know, for me I’ll be a really honest with you I forgot to have the conversation with my kids because I’m talking about all these other things porn and, you know, grooming and all these things that seem like a big five The big five.
You know, i never really have thought about cheating. I think a lot of times it’s one of those things that we talk about after it happens or after it’s exposed. And what this conversation has done for me is remind me that this is a preemptive conversation, like it would have been easy. Just the other day, my kid now I have two out of my three who are working on their papers on computers, which is a new thing, like they had to write everything before an elementary. Now it’s, you know, laptops And so he was typing a paper and some that.
I don’t remember what happened, but the conversation turned to like at what point is it plagiarizing? And so we were talking through all of that and what that meant and why it’s important. And that would have been a great opportunity to kind of shuffle into the conversation about cheating, but it just wasn’t on my radar, i wasn’t thinking about it. But I believe, as parents, this is probably an easy one, you know, as they’re doing homework in the car on the way to school or talking about how hard a test is. I wonder if anybody cheated on it. Like just throwing out something gives you the opportunity to plant the seed as to why cheating is not okay.
0:10:49 – Speaker 1
You know, as an author, this, this. Oh yes, I didn’t even think of that.
0:10:52 – Speaker 2
Don’t get me fired up on plagiarism.
0:10:54 – Speaker 1
I. One of the ways I talk to my kids about it is social media. Because you know, we’re all on social media And so I’ll say if I follow somebody and they’re quoting someone and they act like it’s their own and they’re not quoting that person, i it’s immediate unfollow for me, like I can. It’s a trust thing. Same thing when we go to church And my kids and I have had this conversation.
If a pastor is up there preaching and he’s using quote that I know is a famous quote from somebody And he’s quoting it as himself, and not even if I don’t don’t even know the person, i don’t care. If you don’t even know the person, just say there’s this quote out there, you know. You don’t have to do all the research and figure it. Just say there’s a pastor. I mean, we say that a lot on our show. There’s a pastor. We read on Twitter and he said this and it was so powerful, whatever. Just because to me it’s an integrity issue. And then I start to think about well, what else are you acting like is your own And that’s not your own, and what? what else are you? you know, it’s just why.
0:11:54 – Speaker 2
Well, i why you know I’m glad you said that because it really makes this point that I’ve been thinking through that we’ve allowed cheating to become normalized in our home without realizing it.
0:12:05 – Speaker 1
In our homes, in our culture, in our churches everywhere. Yeah, so that’s a great example Everywhere.
0:12:09 – Speaker 2
People claiming things that are not theirs. Coaches, i mean, oh my goodness, don’t get me started with the sports. But yeah, coaches, i’m not even going to tell the stories or I’m going to get too fired up. Friends, all the different things, and us, like I, i really think it’s important Everything we talk about here at nextTalk. We’re like we got to look in the mirror first, like am I doing something, even if it seems really small, or am I saying something that is painting the picture to my kid, that’s normalizing, cutting corners and cheating to get the result I want?
0:12:42 – Speaker 1
So this is a great example. I, you know, we recently just did our taxes. I use it as an opportunity to talk to my kids about, you know, book sales for me. You could hide that.
There’s ways you could hide that And I tell my kids I have integrity with it. I report every book that is sold because I’m accountable to God. It doesn’t even. I don’t even care about the IRS coming out. You know what I mean. Like whatever It’s about, like doing the right thing because it’s the right thing And just using those moments like when I’m doing taxes or when I’m making a decision and I’m like man I know some people lie on stuff like this, but I’m not going to, you said as a moment to talk to your kids about not cutting corners.
0:13:22 – Speaker 2
I think it’s so important. We were at a lunch once as a family and we were with this other family and we were, you know, talking, you know whatever. And at the end of the meal this other family’s dad said I’m going to take care of lunch. And we’re like oh, you don’t have to do that, that’s so good. And he was like, and he blurted out one line about his business which had nothing to do with our conversation, and he’s like Oh, i can claim it on my taxes because we just talked about the da, da, da, da da. It’s a business lunch. And it was not a business lunch at all.
And that’s a perfect example of how, culturally, we have begun to accept these slippery slope moments where we say, well, that’s okay, it’s not a big deal, and oh, my goodness, that’s a great time when you can step out of that with your kids and talk about how that could be perceived as okay, but ultimately it’s not. If I had thought about it at the time this was a long time ago, but I still remember it that I didn’t circle back and have that conversation with my kids And it would have been a great opportunity to just talk about how easy it is to bend the rules. It doesn’t seem that bad Well.
0:14:32 – Speaker 1
I hear you in the sense of we’re sweeping it under the rug and it’s acting like it’s okay When it’s not. it’s a real integrity, character type of issue.
0:14:41 – Speaker 2
Well, i think, circling back to what we said a little bit earlier, is that from that quote, the desire to get ahead and the pressure. In our culture we’ve kind of absorbed that at every different level And in our own home I think it’s really important to pay attention to that and think about our kids in this area, of how they could lean into cheating or justify it. And I was trying to think about the pressure. If you’ve got a kid we did a show actually are you too strict or too lenient? And in that we talked about different kids. You probably have a bunch of different variety in your home If you have more than one kid I know I do And if you have a kid that is much more driven and success oriented and on the ball and always, or maybe a people please, or all those different things, and you’ve noticed that that for the reason of wanting to get ahead or excelling, they may feel that pull of wanting to cheat on something or cut the corners because they want to keep up or they want to get ahead.
And so knowing that about your kid and knowing how to approach the conversation from that standpoint is really good. But you also may have another kid who is not like that, and they may want to cheat or cut the corners because they don’t care as much about those things. They’re more of a like ah, does it really matter? I don’t really want to study. So knowing your kids and how to approach this conversation is important, because if you just do it the same, it’s not going to resonate with them. You got to figure out what will resonate with your kid when you bring this topic up.
0:16:16 – Speaker 1
Yeah, what does your kid need?
And going back to this example of the restaurant, it kind of jogged a memory in my mind And little moments with your kids where you can teach them about integrity and not cheating.
And this thing popped up in my mind when you were talking about the restaurant.
The other day we went to a restaurant and my husband was going to pay the bill and they had not charged us for one of the drinks And my husband being like he’s like the most honest person I’ve ever met in my life, and so he was like pulled the waiter over and was like hey, you need to charge us for one more drink, and my kids were like rolling their eyes like dad, it’s too extreme, this is too crazy extreme, but it kind of was kind of extreme, but it almost is needed in a culture where it’s just accepted that you just wouldn’t say anything, like just to be the hush-hush like.
You know what I mean. So it’s almost like we do have to be kind of like point it out and be intentional about it. And the waitress was really sweet. She’s like I’m not going to worry about it, but thank you so much. That’s really nice that you actually brought it to my attention. Oh, and then it was like you know, we got the drink free, but I my consciousness clear, i didn’t try and get by with anything here.
0:17:33 – Speaker 2
My favorite is when something like that happens and people say it must be a blessing from God. I’m like oh no, no, that’s not a blessing from God. When we take advantage of a mistake, it turns into a blessing from.
0:17:48 – Speaker 1
0:17:49 – Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s a word. That’s a word. Well, we like to put things on Jesus that are not from him. sometimes We’re like I’m going to justify this by spiritualizing it. No, no, you are preaching up in here like no other today.
0:18:02 – Speaker 1
Well, because I’ve done it, she didn’t turn into a servant.
0:18:05 – Speaker 2
I’ve done it in the past and I’m like wait a minute. what am I doing? No, this was a mistake at the cash register. It’s being manipulated, kind of using God for something that he was, yes, but the crazy thing is it is a blessing when you go and say, hey, i was in charge for the drink, like your husband did, and that blessed the waitress. To see there are honest people in the world, that’s the blessing.
0:18:30 – Speaker 1
The tone of the way she said it she didn’t say this really blessed me, but the way she was surprised that he said it, it was almost like man. there are honest people in the world, right.
0:18:43 – Speaker 2
And so teaching these lessons to our kids in the everyday tiny little moments where we can talk about cheating and cutting corners and why it’s not right, That’s golden And we’re going to get to it here in a second. But it does apply to the bigger things that really are scarier. It really does. I just want to say one thing here that has really helped my achiever kid in this conversation And for kids, especially in the school context that we talked about, how cheating is on the rise and the pressure to perform and be the best is huge.
If you have a kid that is an achiever, one of the greatest gifts I’m finding I can give to that kid is, I tell him pretty regularly if you never did anything else in your life, I would be proud of you and I would love you the same, And it has brought tears to his eyes before because they just need that. They need that release of pressure And by saying, just as you are, you are loved. It just gives them this place where they can breathe. I feel like Conversations, but also the reassurances of where their worth comes from and who they are. All of those are a part of that cheating conversation that I think we miss sometimes.
0:19:53 – Speaker 1
Well, and you talked about the achiever and then the kid who doesn’t care, and you have to push them a little bit harder. Maybe the conversation isn’t pointing out that they’re not pushing or that they’re not achieving or that they don’t care. Not dwelling on all that, but instead saying hey, when you cheat, you miss out on a learning opportunity And I don’t want you to miss that. There’s things that happen in your brain when you have to work through this problem on your own And I know it seems so simple for you And it’s like it doesn’t matter. It seems like what’s the big deal, but it really is teaching you how to think critically And that’s a great skill that you’re going to take in your life. So, again, it’s that explaining the why. You know we always say explain the why behind the rule. Well, explain why cheating is a big deal, why we can’t just gloss it over.
0:20:45 – Speaker 2
So the other thing that we really want to bring up here is cheating can be the launching pad for a standard that can seep into all of their life choices.
0:20:55 – Speaker 1
So it can affect the top five or whatever you’re saying.
0:20:58 – Speaker 2
Exactly. We think of it as a little thing now, but it pours upward and outward into the big things that we’re all like. Oh, as long as I don’t do that, we’re OK. I mean, i want you to think about the slippery slope that could happen at work in the marriage when they’re out shopping. I know that seems silly, but theft is a huge thing among women, which is a funny thing Like when I read that statistic. In that story they said women are just stealing stuff and justifying it. And then you know you brought up taxes. I thought that was so great because that is a big area where a lot of people feel justified in cheating as adults because that standard was never set when they were kids.
0:21:37 – Speaker 1
Well, you know I write about this in talk and I reference a song called Slow Fade And I think this is just a perfect example of a slow fade. You know it starts out, you know, cheating in the grand scheme and things, cheating is little right, but it starts out little and then it becomes a big gaping hole. You know, like I use the example, even in a marriage a knitted sweater and you have one pulled thread and you’re like, oh, it’s no big deal, but left unattended, that can become a big gaping hole because you’re not, you’re not saying, well, this isn’t the right path or this isn’t. I also use this as an example when my kids, especially when they were in middle school I think that’s when the friend group started to shift and friends started making different decisions that my kids were like I don’t know if I want to be associated with this, i don’t know if that’s who I am kind of thing And they would come home and tell me stories about little things, like maybe it was how somebody was dressing or just a little comment that somebody made Little things.
You know, i’m not talking sneaking drugs in or any of those big top five. These were little things And I would say they’re starting on a path and it may be the F word today, but in four years it may be drugs, and so what you need to notice is, yes, the F word in the grand scheme of things, not that huge of a deal, but it’s a decision. It’s a decision to step in a certain direction And that’s what I need you to notice, and I think that really worked well with my kids as far as seeing the different paths that kids are taking. And it does start out little, it does, and then it turns into something big It does. So I like the slippery salt thing.
0:23:17 – Speaker 2
I’m like yes, yes, yeah, i mean, i think this is a very good point It does. It’s easy to dismiss it as not an important conversation, but if we continue to let things slide and undervalue the ideas of things that seem little, by not talking about them and explaining the why and just having conversation about how it could affect them in the long run, then I feel like we set our kids up for a lifelong struggle with right and wrong and a moral compass that lives constantly in the gray. It’s constant justification, because they’ve never seen someone say no, this is wrong. And so they live in a space where they don’t really know how to make a good decision And they get caught up in the emotions of whatever it is achieving or not wanting to work hard or all of those things that we’ve talked about. So it is a big deal. Doesn’t seem like it now, but in the long run, cheating is a big deal In a conversation we have to have with our kids.
0:24:20 – Speaker 1
Here’s the last point I think we should make, and you said this, kim, but I kind of want to summarize it like this It’s either right or it’s wrong. I mean, god sets the standard, not mom or dad. Here’s the thing. There is a lot of gray that happens that we have to parent, yes, but a lot of times in that gray, when we dig into the word, we can see OK, this is messy And there may be reasons for why it happened or reasons for why we did it, but at the end of the day, according to God’s word, is it right or is it wrong? And that’s what we need to look at. I love how we add this God sets the standard, not mom or dad.
That’s been one thing that I’ve constantly said to my kids. It’s never been you are a major. This is not how we act, or this is not how Christians do it, or anything like that. I’ve always said how would God feel about this? Like, is this right or is this wrong? And then it becomes their relationship with God that they have to answer to, and not about performing. For me, because we talked about this, the stat about getting ahead, a lot of times, kids may be cheating because we’re putting pressure on them to get ahead. They’re performing for us, they’re performing for us, and so I think this is a very big conversation in this cheating, letting little things slide discussion.
0:25:39 – Speaker 2
Well, something that we say all the time in Mandy I have always loved that you have pointed out is when your kid is struggling with something, or they’re asking question or you’re talking through a topic like, let’s say, cheating, ultimately you can say, well, it’s this, this and this, or like what you’re saying, we can point them to Jesus to work it out with him. And instead of saying here’s what this scripture is saying, go read this and tell me what you think. I love that. That has been such a huge thing in our household, and so there’s just a couple of scriptures that we can point our kids to and then let them wrestle with it and then come back and have a conversation with you.
Proverbs 13.5,. A righteous person hates deceit, but the wicked person is shameful and disgraceful. In Proverbs 12.19, truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. And then another one that I really love is first, john 1.6. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. These are just some great scriptures that define that there is a right and wrong, a good and bad, and hopefully, as our kids read them, the Holy Spirit will wrestle with them in their heart and they will accept truth on their own. And then we just get to encourage them in their faith life.
0:26:53 – Speaker 1
Yeah, I mean that’s one of the great things about pointing them to scripture and reading and digging in. It takes us out of the equation And it takes them out of trying to live up to our standards or perform for us, And then it becomes a real relationship, a real relationship with Jesus, where they’re trying to figure this out on their own And I mean that’s the goal.
0:27:14 – Speaker 2
I’m just gonna say life as we all know it brings up enough stuff, whether on TV or social media or at the dinner table or when you’re at the Walmart that will allow you to talk about cheating in a very comfortable way, where you’re not pounding it into your kids or exposing them or whatever it is. I mean, the opportunity will come up, i promise you. We just wanna encourage you. Don’t miss the moment. These little things are really not so little, so don’t miss out on the conversation with things like cheating.
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