Counter-Cultural Parenting: Being Honest, All the Time

flower bouquetThis article features one of our clients, New Creations Boarding School, a Christian residential program for teens located in Richmond, Indiana.

While lists like this one might be correct, most parents aren’t okay with their kids using the same logic and telling them “little white lies.” After all, as long as it really won’t hurt anyone, it’s okay, right? We might find it easy to excuse our own dishonesty that way, but we really don’t want our kids to follow suit.

So let’s get rid of the old do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrisy and teach our kids to be counter-cultural in being truly above question in their honesty. Of course, the best way to do that is to model extreme honesty ourselves, first, and then instruct them accordingly.

gardenerEven When It Doesn’t (Seem To) Matter

You know what I mean, don’t you? That exaggerated story that gets you laughs or admiration or the “sure, that looks great” or “I love the platypus necktie.” You might even argue that the latter two examples are actually loving, because the truth, well, might hurt.

Think about it this way: If someone knows you won’t lie even to avoid conflict or hurt feelings, how much more does your praise mean? Of course, sometimes skirting the issue might be kind, and you can carefully choose words like, “Any gift from you is special because you mean so much to me.”

Even When It’s Embarrassing or Inconvenient

Sometimes people ask invasive questions that you don’t need to answer — or at least not in public, with other people around. It’s okay to politely say, “Let’s talk about something else right now” or “I’d rather not discuss it.” But lying? Well, I’m pretty sure that’s not what you want your kids to do when you ask them questions they’d rather not face.

child on phoneBack in the day of land lines, parents sometimes told their kids to answer and tell whoever was on the other line that they weren’t home — directly lying for their parents, simply because their parents didn’t want to talk to the individual.

What about someone wanting help that you don’t want to give, or a request for money you could easily spare? Lying is easy, but the truth may be difficult to face; that’s one of the many ways in which God can use our kids in our lives to help us serve God better.

Even When It Costs You More Money

This is probably the biggest area where we’ve all been offenders, at one point or another. From pirating music or movies to sharing ebooks or photocopying educational resources, it’s easy to justify these copyright violations when they affect big companies that probably won’t miss your money. It’s the same with lying about a child’s age to get a discount or creating multiple accounts from retailers to receive more than one coupon or bonus.

Chances are, our kids will look to the definition of “honesty” that we’ve modeled for them, in order to interpret what we mean when we tell them to be honest. If we simply apply the Golden Rule, we’ll probably put those “little white lies” aside.

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