Truthfulness – I always tell the truth
“An honest witness does not lie, a false witness breathes lies.” Proverbs 14:5
No matter how young or old you are, possessing truthfulness can be a struggle. I remember when our oldest child told her very first lie. In actuality, I remember more of how I felt at that time than I do of the actual circumstance (why she lied)! I was disappointed! Sure, she was only 3, but my heart sank as I realized that her little sin nature was indeed there.
When sin rears its ugly head, this is where parenting gets real! For many parents, the temptation may be to overlook the little (and sometimes cute) white lies simply because most childhood lies are trivial (they never really hurt anyone). However, if the virtue of truthfulness isn’t pursued these little lies may become habitual and eventually become bigger ones (think teenage years) with bigger impact.
Thankfully, the Bible, especially the book of Proverbs, has a lot to stay about being truthful and the consequences of being dishonest. These verses serve as good reminders as to the reality of the damage that dishonesty can cause in one’s life and the lives of others. And when our children are little, the practice (or habit) of speaking truthfully becomes the primary training objective.
What you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouthful of sand. (Proverbs 20:17)
CALL TO ACTION
When training your young children in truthfulness, consider the following:
- INTENT – What is the intention of a lie? Children usually resort to dishonesty to avoid the consequences of a bad choice. It’s the easy way out, isn’t it? From early on teach that “honesty is the best policy”! Or as one of my sons suggested “Go ahead and plead guilty and get it over with!” Be sure to praise your child when they are truthful and determine consequences that are age appropriate for when they are not. As your children get older, you may consider instituting a household rule that makes the penalty for lying worse than admitting (or confessing) wrongdoing. Remember, your training should be future focused! The hard work now will pay off later!
- CONTENT – What material do you use for conversations on truthfulness? Use verses from Scripture as your go-to to illustrate the importance of this virtue! Do you have a child who is in the habit of telling those little white lies? Every morning, remind them to put their “buckle of truth” around their waist (Ephesians 6:14). You can also use storytelling with life-like scenarios to help your child understand what truthfulness looks like in their everyday life!
- PREVENT – A great way to get on the path of prevention when it comes to truthfulness and dishonesty is to utilize every circumstance as a teaching tool. Regardless of age, get in the habit of having a conversation about choices and their consequences. Will you be able to prevent 100% of dishonesty? As a mother of six, I can tell you “no” and that’s okay! My advice is to be vigilant - keep your dishonesty detector on at all times!
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, 1771 - 1832