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Integrity in Decision Making

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School Language Arts

One to Two Class Sessions

Students will:

  • determine how a decision made at a critical juncture in life impacts the lives of others
  • recognize the importance of practicing empathy and making ethical decisions

Medal of Honor Focus: James P. Fleming, U.S. Air Force, Vietnam War

Introductory Activity:
Decisions are not made in a vacuum and are often motivated by a person’s sense of right and wrong. Decisions made at critical junctures often affect the lives of those around us.

Ask students to think of a time when they made a decision that affected those around them. Have them describe this decision and explain what would have happened had they chosen to act differently. Perhaps students chose to distance themselves from a group of friends because they were making bad choices and causing unrest in their family; perhaps they chose to befriend a student in school who was not accepted by others; perhaps they gave of their time to do community service when they really wanted to stay home and rest; perhaps they chose not to gossip about someone because they knew that untruths were being spread. These may seem like insignificant examples, yet all of their actions have an impact and help to define them as a person.

Small Group Activity:
Divide the class into groups and have them read “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

After reading the poem, students (in small groups) will summarize the message of the poem, explain how it relates to decision-making, and explain how the decision made could impact the lives of others.

Whole Group Activity:
Groups will report their findings to the class. Discuss how decision-making reflects one’s integrity.

Whole Group Activity:
View the Living History video of James Fleming, and discuss the decisions he made. Ask students to draw connections to “The Road Not Taken.”

Concluding Activity:
Students will be asked to write a short essay entitled “The Most Difficult Decision I Have Made.”

Student participation, summaries, essays

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, James Fleming Living History video

Living History Video

Additional Resources