Cherry Tree in the 90's
(For those who aren't familiar with the story of George Washington
and the cherry tree, let me give you the 30 second version. George
Washington, the first President of the United States, was known for
his truthfulness, even as a child. The story tells that young George
chopped down a cherry tree and when his father asked him about it,
he told his father the truth. George was not punished because of his
truthfulness. You can figure out the moral of the story.
Now, imagine if this happened in today's world .....)
"George Washington, did YOU chop down the cherry tree?"
"I think you are lying."
"No, no, no! I swear I did NOT chop down the cherry tree."
"Son, I saw you out here with your axe. Your punishment will be
much worse for you if you lie. Now, tell me the truth!"
"Dad, I answered your question truthfully. Still, I must take
complete responsibility for all my actions. While my answer was
legally accurate, I did not volunteer information.
"Indeed, Dad, I did cause the cherry tree to be lying on the ground.
To do this was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment
and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely
"I know my answer to you gave a false impression. I misled you, my
own father. I deeply regret that.
"I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors. First, by a
desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct.
"I was also very concerned about protecting Mom from this shock.
"What I did, Dad, was use a saw to cause the cherry tree to fall.
Only after the tree was already down did I go get my axe to chop off
"So, I chopped off branches, but sawed down the tree. Look at the saw
cut on the stump and the axe cuts on the branches. Therefore,
legally, I told the truth.
"I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of this fallen tree and to
return our attention to a solid family relationship."