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What’s cuter than a 3 year old Tae Kwon Do student? The video from Premier Martial Arts Leeds is guaranteed to make you smile. It’s the inspiration for the July series, Practicing the Student Creed.

There are several versions of the student creed, but they all incorporate five tenets: (1) courtesy; (2) integrity; (3) perseverance; (4) self-control; and (5) indomitable spirit. The Leeds studio uses this statement:

I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that might reduce my mental growth or my physical health.

I will develop self-discipline in order to help bring out the best in myself and others.

I will use common sense before self-defense, and never be abusive or offensive.

This is a black belt school. We are dedicated. We are motivated.

We are on a quest to be our best!

Imagine schools starting their day with a similar recitation. How would children change if they knew that personal development, self-discipline and relating to others were more important than memorizing endless facts?

A cornerstone of the integrity principle is “Always be honest and have a strong sense of right and wrong. The degree of wrong does not matter; wrong is wrong.” This idea echoed again and again as the Rachel Dolezal news coverage unfolded.

Rachel Dolezal was the President of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP. She recently resigned in a firestorm of controversy when her estranged parents revealed that she had spent years posing as a black woman. They produced photos of her as a blonde, blue-eyed teenager.

Losing her prestigious position wasn’t about her fashion choices. As her complex and sometimes outrageous stories tumbled out, Rachel Dolezal’s priorities became painfully clear. Civil rights took a distant second place to her aggressive chase for community and social media status.

During the Hay House Summit, author Carolyn Myss had an insight about the dangerous consequences of decisions driven by fear and the need for control. Myss said, “You tell yourself, “I know this is bad, but I’m not strong enough to get out of it. If one lie doesn’t work, I’ll try two.” You don’t trust the light; you trust darkness.”

In an interview with the NBC Nightly News, Dolezal reluctantly gave a chaotic explanation about her past. “There have been moments of some level of creative nonfiction where in order to survive or protect people that I loved I have kind of had to explain or justify some of the timeline and logistics of my life in a way that made sense to others.”

Brushing off ten years of tall tales as “creative nonfiction”? Oh dear.

This week, trust the light. Begin to live the student creed by sharpening your sense of right and wrong. Move away from the slippery slope of excuses like “it’s no big deal”, “it’s just this time” or “no one will find out.” If you’re tempted in a tough situation or two, get back to basics: “The degree of wrong does not matter; wrong is wrong.”