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