Back when I was about ten or so I was enrolled in a Catholic School with my brothers and sisters. One day on the way back to class after the bell rang I got out of line because I thought I saw one of my brothers lying in the school hallway, possibly injured. It wasn’t my brother, it was someone else with a jacket that looked exactly like his. I actually knew there was no real excuse for being late for class and it resulted in a trip to the principal’s office.

I was terrified. Rather than hide what I had done I would confess to my dad and told him what I feared was going to happen to me. I’ll never forget what he said and it stayed with me even to this very day. “When you meet with your principal, be truthful because the problem is if you lie it will always end up with more lies to cover up the first lie. So don’t be afraid to tell the truth and always do as you are told to do.”

So that’s exactly what I did. I told the principal that I was sorry for being late for class and that it was because I thought my brother had been hurt.

The response was plain and simple, “Rules are rules. Everyone has to follow them regardless of what you thought you saw.” So off I went back to my classroom knowing all my classmates were waiting while I was in her office wondering what kind of punishment I’d be getting.

They soon found out when I returned with a note that I handed my teacher. It stated that I had to write on the blackboard twenty times while my classmates watched, “I will be in class when the bell rings no matter what, rules are rules.” So it wasn’t as scary as I imagined, just a bit embarrassing. I looked at my school principal differently because she was right. I felt she delivered fair punishment and I admired her for sticking to, as she said, “rules are rules.”

The moral of this story is just tell the truth and remember rules are rules, no matter what we may think.

—Helen Valcaniant,
Imlay City