In our continuous quest to improve and develop children, the role of truth in their life is one that is often a contradiction of sorts.
And more often than not, it is the parents that are ironically the culprits for the confusion the child experiences.
While parents zealously encourage their child to tell the truth, they are quick to rebuke and scold many a time when their child innocently utters the truth.
A child is “expected” to say they liked a gift a lot when they may not have at all liked it!
A parent might tell a child to tell the talkative neighbour at the door that “Papa is not at home”.
Under the pressures of “polite societal expectations”, parents unwittingly create stress for themselves and their children.
A stress that creates rattling questions in the hearts of children – questions that haunt, instill fear and create a dilemma regarding the justification of what is truth.
“Will I offend…will I hurt….will Dad or Mom be angry with me if I tell the Aunty I don’t like her cake…?”
So were do we draw the distinction of what is acceptable and what is not?
Simple, we can start making a conscious effort on our part to convey our words with “positive honesty”. The truth need not be conveyed with crudeness or lack of delicacy. Indeed, parents can make the bold step of sounding polite yet truthful about their likes in any situation – yes, any situation.
Here is an example, supposing you are being graciously offered a second helping of a desert you did not like in a party by the host, what do you do?
Conveying your resistance in the following manner with a smile would help,
“Thank you very much, but no thank you”
The desire to please and be seen as gracious is so powerful, that many a time, the reply could reach interesting but dishonest proportions like,
“Oh! Its very good (when you did not like it at all) but I’m so very full after the delicious dinner…maybe if I had space….”
Now, when you compare the first and the second response, the second response can invoke a situation that may cause you to yet “lie” again or be in a state of discomfort for no reason.
Your polite and courteous host may insist that since you “loved the desert and food so much, you should surely take some home and enjoy later”.
Now, are we not getting into deeper and deeper waters for no reason?
Children love to observe adults and would see a situation based on what “is expected” than what “is to be honestly conveyed”. So, the next time you are taking them somewhere and they are innocently starkly honest, appreciate them (yes, first appreciate them), then you can tell them how they could convey their response politely and with tact.
Honesty at home encourages and instills several values and qualities in children
Truth telling promotes confidence, self esteem, ability to appreciate, reflect on integrity and human compassion, encourage values, promote humility, respect for others and perhaps most importantly happiness.
The integrity of the home affects the strength and the fortitude of children. Children who would become responsible world citizens of tomorrow.