February 6, 2014 | Vol. 117 -- No. 42

Honesty is a character trait worth promoting

In Our Opinion

Cheney and Medical Lake school districts have been promoting character education at all grade levels since the start of the current school year, using a list of monthly traits developed by the Spokane Valley grassroots organization PACE — Partners Advancing Character Education.

At the beginning of January they were joined by businesses, civic groups, faith-based organizations and residents as PACE opened its first chapter on the West Plains, making the announcement at the West Plains Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting.

These monthly character traits are respect, responsibility, citizenship, caring, fairness, honesty, diligence, trustworthiness, courage, integrity, generosity and gratitude. They are good traits practiced by those who have partnered with the districts and PACE.

It’s a worthy endeavor promoting character in our schools, although to be effective they should also be practiced and enforced in the home. Modern K-12 education has become so much more than the simple 3 R’s of yesteryear, focusing as much on building good citizens positively benefiting society as a whole, rather than individuals capable of basic survival and work functions.

But promoting and encouraging these skills will go for naught if not reinforced outside the schoolhouse — in the homes and in the community. That is why PACE’s partnering with West Plains businesses, organizations and residents is so vital.

February’s trait of the month is honesty, described by PACE as “Sincerity and reverence or love for the truth.” As a business that strives to provide news about events and issues within our communities, it’s something we pay a great deal of attention to and strive as best possible to achieve.

Honesty can sometimes mean having to tell people something they don’t want to hear, whether it’s bad news or news contrary to how individuals may perceive it or have come to believe is the truth. We may have already formed an opinion about something based on less formal information outlets — the “rumor mill” — so when something more concrete is produced contrary to what we have heard, it can be difficult accepting it as truth.

We like what is said, we agree with it and therefore it becomes truth. But if we are genuinely possessed of a reverence or love for the truth, we will make every attempt to gain and understand an opposing view. It’s a difficult commitment, one not practiced as well today as it should be.

Loving the truth is also being prepared to quickly correct mistakes in what has been said or written, something that speaks to integrity, which is the June trait of the month.

An organization we would like to acknowledge for honesty is the Cheney City Council. The council faced a difficult issue in allowing for the location of marijuana growing, processing and retailing businesses within the city limits, one made more difficult Jan. 16 with the Washington State Attorney General’s opinion that state requirements for such businesses did not pre-empt local government’s rights to write laws of their own if they did not want such businesses in their communities.

Instead of continuing to move forward with the interim zoning ordinance regulating these businesses, or enacting a ban that would have gone against the wishes of a majority of the voters in Cheney — who passed the initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use by almost 55.7 percent — the council held a special meeting and received public testimony from both sides before electing to continue with the current zoning process.

Hopefully it was obvious to those in attendance at the meeting that the council was sincere in wanting to ascertain the truth from its citizens, and held that truth in high regard. Given the emotional nature of some of the testimony, which surrounds the issue, it was not an easy thing to do.

Next month’s character trait is “Diligence.” If you know someone who you would like to single out for this, please let us know.

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