I’ve occasionally heard the familiar saying “Honesty is the best policy” changed to “Honesty is the only policy.”
That is certainly the case in our home. Even before my husband and I became parents, we agreed that lying would be strictly dealt with in our children.
Does that mean that our children have always told the truth? Not hardly. I remember when one of our daughters went through a brief lying “phase” around the age of five. If not for the seriousness of the situation, it would have been almost humorous because she lied about such inconsequential things – like what had happened to the papers she usually brought home from church on Sunday.
Especially during those early years, I typically handled any discipline problems that arose during the day. However, if lying was involved, we also included my husband in administering correction when he arrived home. From memorizing verses to discussing Bible characters who lied to reading practical application stories written on a young child’s level that teach the importance of truth telling, honesty was one character quality we stressed repeatedly. By showing them that lying always has consequences, I hope to ingrain into their character the necessity of honesty.
Why is it so important? Because without honesty, it’s impossible to build trust. As they are growing older and are away from us at times, it is crucial that we have confidence in their ability to tell us the truth. Even now, I try to remember to pray that if our children choose to lie, may the truth be brought to light so that they can be dealt with and understand the seriousness of their sin.
A large part of teaching our children about honesty is the example that we as parents set for them. That means refusing even to tell what we might deem as “little white lies” and being honest in all of our interactions with others. It’s not always convenient; it may mean dragging everyone back into the grocery store to return an extra dollar you mistakenly received in change, but living honestly in front of your children is always the right thing to do. Those eyes watch all that we do to see if we ourselves are living up to what we expect of them.
Is honesty a big deal in your house? How do you emphasize this character trait with your children?
photo courtesy public domain pictures
Linked to Raising Homemakers and Word Women Wednesday.
Jennifer @ Just Peachy in Dixie says
I absolutely HATE lying! First and foremost it's one of the 10 commandments, but even that aside, it makes me feel terrible. My DH and I have taught my daughter that you don't have to remember what you've said when you tell the truth. Also, once you've lied, you lose trust, and that it very hard to gain back.
My daughter came to me a couple of years ago about something she wasn't honest about, it was so insignificant (as much as lying can be) that I can't remember what it was about. She had been holding it in for a while. She came to me and burst into tears with the truth. I hugged her and let her know that I was much more happy about the fact that she was being honest, then angry about whatever it was.
She learned a valuable lesson that day. It's a huge burden to carry around a lie! It's so much better to tell the truth and face the consequences, so you can just let it go and move on. She also learned that no matter how "insignificant" the lie may seem, it's a heavy burden to bare.
Great post! Thanks for sharing.
Jennifer @ http://justpeachyindixie.blogspot.com
Thank you for such an instructive comment! As you've shared so well, there is freedom in telling the truth.
I have been trying to teach Madison the importance of telling the truth. I am using our current custody situation as a teaching moment. She has already brought to my attention a lot of lies that have been told to her by the other parent and his spouse. Sad. I have stressed to her how important it is to always tell the truth.
I pray a lot of lies that have been told by the other parent are exposed at our hearing tomorrow.
it is impossible to build or keep trust without honesty. I wholeheartedly agree with eyes watching us in how we live. If what we are doing is in line with what we are teaching.
makes me think…this post. I've often wondered why lying comes so easy to some and not others. Guess it is no different than other sins. just wonder…love your words and I am so happy you shared them with us today!
It is sad that you have such real-life examples to use, but hopefully it will impress on Madison at her young age the importance of honesty.
It seems to me that if you get away with a lie and never suffer any consequences, it would be easier to do it the next time. That's one reason I pray that my children will get caught if they are dishonest.
Thank you for your kind words! Have a wonderful afternoon!
h. rae says
It sounds like you're doing the right thing. Lying is an ugly sin that quickly becomes a habit. It's true that children- or adults, for that matter- if allowed to get away with even a little lie, will do it more frequently and in more serious situations if there is no consequence.
Lying is a big deal around here too – as it should be. The Bible tells us "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him" (Proverbs 6:16) – in the list, a "lying tongue" is second on the list of things that God hates, which are an abomination to Him. If we can squelch lying in our children, all other sins will be easier for us to deal with because honesty will win out. Dishonesty is dealt with very severely in our home.
When I was a child, I was a horrible liar, and I clearly remember my mother's shame of me and some of the lies and punishments from those lies. My husband and I both do our best to never lie, and as you say, sometimes it can be so inconvenient… but still VERY worth it in the big picture. After all, one lie can become another lie and so on until your life is a web of deceit. I know that too well, sadly.
Honesty is big for us, too. For the all the reason you stress above. I love to take the opportunity to show my children the value of honesty — when they see the storekeeper's surprise when we bring back the extra change, or we pay for the thing that was mistakenly put in our bag, or whatever. It shows them that as Christians we are called to be different and when we do things that are right, even when we could have walked away with some "thing" more, we really walk away with less, if it's not good in the eyes of Jesus.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I was talking to one of my daughters about this post and she clearly remembers one occasion when she lied and was punished – and I'd forgotten all about it! I'm glad it made an impression on her, though. We also had yet another chance to discuss honesty and trust.
So true! Especially in the times in which we live, I believe it is a real witness to others when we show honesty in our dealings with them.
Heather @ Called to this Journey says
It is a big deal here. "Thou shalt not lie" says it all.