About a month ago I heard a news story about a hockey charity fundraiser in Minnesota. Participants could purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to make an extremely challenging, one-in-a-million- chance at a hockey shot, sliding the puck into a tiny hole from the center of the ice for a prize of $50,000.
A father there with his identical twin sons bought three raffle tickets. When the big moment came and the ticket with the winning name on it was selected, it was the name of one of his identical twins. However, this particular son happened to be outside playing with friends at the time. The dad, not expecting, in his wildest dreams, anyone to be able to make this very impossible shot, sent the other brother out on the ice in his twin’s place.
And… of course, wouldn’t you know it – he did it – placed that puck exactly where it needed to go!
Caught up in the grand hoopla, surprise and congratulations, the family accepted the $50,000 prize – even though the wrong twin took the shot.
By the next day, the family wasn’t feeling right about it, called and “fessed” up the news. The son who made the unbelievable shot was not the one whose name was on the raffle ticket that was drawn for the chance to win $50,000.
They didn’t receive the prize money but the promotion company who pays the prize did agree to donate $20,000 to youth hockey in Minnesota in the boys’ names.
So the question is – what would you have done? Most likely this family could have gotten away with this, but at what price to the emerging consciences of these 11-year-old boys?
As families, we may not be faced with any decisions such as this to make honoring right or wrong, but we are faced with everyday occurances that might seem very trivial in the short time – getting the wrong change in our favor at the market; asking your husband to tell the person on the phone that you’re not home; saying your 11-year-old is only ten at the local buffet restaurant. Our children are watching us – noticing – and it is our actions in situations, large or small, that will have a big influence on them as they grow.
For we are our children’s moral compass.
I’m sure it is a relief for those brothers not to have to live their life knowing that the wrong boy actually made the shot that won the prize. The money was to go toward their college education the parents had decided. But instead their immediate education came first – feeling secure not only in who they were, but what their whole family believes in.
Richer by far.