This is the first post in my series “Virtues in Focus.”
Click here to read the rest.
Honesty was the first virtue that we focused on using We Choose Virtues. (Remember to join my giveaway to get a chance to win a set of Parenting Cards from We Choose Virtues!) It is a character trait that I value highly, as trust naturally follows it, making relationships happy and healthy.
Children, however, sometimes find it difficult to make a distinction between the truth and the untruth. When Little T was a little younger, I would wonder about her stories or her answers that somehow didn’t ring true. Instead of thinking that she was lying or labeling her as a liar, I made it a point to ask her if what she was saying was “real” or “pretend.” I was enlightened and she went on making up stories.
Knowing the difference between the two is an important skill that children need to master so that they will be able to make the right decisions about telling the truth.
Using Scenarios to Talk About Virtues
“We Choose Virtues” explains a virtue by way of its antonyms or opposites: honesty versus dishonesty. But dishonesty has different shades. It can be to tell an outright lie, to omit something, or to knowingly deceive someone. Talking about different scenarios helps in threshing out the differences, and at the same time enables parents to point out that all, though different from each other, fall under dishonesty.Some teachers and parents write different scenarios to have a discussion about honesty. I find it easier to read or tell stories. Here are some books that you might find helpful in talking to your children about different aspects of honesty and dishonesty.
- A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno - * a Five in a Row book
Mako intentionally makes her new wooden clogs really dirty to make her mother buy her a new pair again – all because she cracked it while playing with her friends. We talked about using tricks to get one’s own way and that it is dishonest to do so.
- Sarah’s Little Ghosts by Thierry Robberecht – * borrowed from The Learning Library
Sarah breaks her mother’s favorite necklace, the one that she was told never to play with. When she lies about knowing where the jewelry is, a ghost come out of her mouth – POP! From then on, a ghost pops out every time she lies.
This story gave us the opportunity to talk about how lying makes people feel inside – miserable.
- The Empty Pot by Demi – * borrowed from The Learning Library
The Empty Pot is about a boy named Ping who is made the Emperor’s heir after being proven to be the most honest boy in the kingdom. This is an enjoyable tale about how honesty is rewarded.
- Timid Timmy by Andreas Dierssen - * borrowed from The Learning Library
Timid Timmy wishes he can be like his friend Rocket who doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything. But then Timmy discovers another kind of bravery – telling the truth – when he told his mother the truth about the missing carrots.
- Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Lankin
Ruthie finds a teeny tiny camera at the playground. She insists that it is hers when her friend Martin comes to claim it. Similar to Sarah’s Little Ghosts, this book shows how miserable people get when they lie – Ruthie could not eat or sleep! She takes a step of courage though and confesses her lie to her parents and then her teacher.
Who doesn’t know Pinocchio, the wooden boy whose nose becomes longer with every lie that he tells? You don’t need a book to tell your own version of this story!
- Aesop’s The Boy Who Cried Wolf
This is one of my favorite stories to tell Little T. It has so much potential for play-acting while teaching about the consequences of telling a lie, even one told in jest.