Concordia Shanghai

Virtue of the Month - Honesty

Someone once said; “honesty is the best policy” which sounds good, but is it really how we live our lives? Is it really what we teach our children through our actions?

When a child looks around the world they see people getting ahead in life by not being honest.  It may be a peer who is cheating on their homework to get an A, it may be someone who is lying about their guilt or innocence in a court of law, or it may even be friends or family members bending the truth in order to try and keep the peace in the family.  Whatever the case may be, it can at times be hard for children to understand the importance of being honest.

In 2012 the University of Notre Dame did a study that showed that people who showed genuine honesty were actually healthier both mentally and physically.  The study revealed that even the telling of little lies throughout a given week caused greater mental distress and had negative effects on physical health.  Personal health alone, should be more than enough to promote honesty, but there is more…

Honesty is also consider to be the moral thing to do.  The ancient Proverb tells us; “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”  In the end, the truth usually comes out, and often a lack of honesty causes us more trouble than we ever would have imagined had we just been honest to start with.

So how can you teach your children about honesty?

1. Set an example of honesty. 
The best way for a child to learn something is to have it modeled for them.  If a child sees those around them being honest they will recognize its value and seek to copy the behavior.

2. Praise honesty in your child. 
When you child shows honesty, remind them of how happy it makes you and how proud of them you are for showing honesty.  It is important for a child to feel good when they are honest, because often telling a lie would have been easier.

3. Practice calm discipline. 
When your child has been honest about doing something wrong, don’t let your emotions get the best of you.  While there certainly might be a punishment involved in the wrong doing, we don’t want children to associate the truth with being yelled at or their parents being angry.