We should do what is right, even if no one is looking

Master Sgt. Terry Mateka

Being an Airman in today’s military requires more than being just a technical expert in a profession: it involves living to and by a higher standard. It’s a standard that’s in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Whether an Airman Basic, a captain, a senior non-commissioned officer, or a civilian supporting Airmen, we all have one direct thing in common, and that is an obligation to do what is right, even when no one is looking.
You might say, “no one does that.” But think about what a better place we would all live, work and play in if everyone did what was right, even when no one was looking. We wouldn’t worry about locking our vehicles or leaving money on our desk. We wouldn’t have to worry about the safety of our children. We wouldn’t have to worry about who cuts corners at the office, or doesn’t wear their hat to their vehicle or talks on their cell phone while driving.
While these are only examples of a much larger picture, I hope you see what I see; beyond any professional obligation we have, we also have a moral obligation to live our lives with integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.
By doing this, it will be easy to do what is right, even when no one is looking and to hold ourselves to a higher standard. For those of us sworn to defend our country, we have an entire nation that counts on us to do what is right. So, every time we think about cutting a corner or saying that, “it won’t hurt just this one time,” we should think about the example we set and/or the possible consequences.
One of the harshest consequences I can think of is from those who choose to drink and drive. They may go years without an incident, but it takes just one instant for someone to die.
What is it that helps us do what is right, even when no one is looking? For some, it may be the oath they took which swore them to incorporate the Air Force’s Core Values into daily living. For others, it may be a religion or simply what their parents taught them as a child.
Whatever it is that drives us … we should all make the choice to do what is right, even when no one is looking.