We all want to raise honest and truthful children. We strive to teach them accordingly and to instill this character trait in our kids. But Recycled Moms, let’s face it. Every one of us has been embarrassed by our child’s honesty at some point in life. Children just speak what is on their mind without considering the consequences. My own little boy is painfully honest; he will walk up to a person and blurt out a true fact that makes me cringe. How can we teach them to be tactful without compromising integrity?
I work daily on this by teaching my boy to mentally count one, two, before speaking. That gives him a moment to think before blurting out something that may be culturally or socially unacceptable. It helps but is not a fail-safe. Here is an example, an incident that happened just the other day. We went into his school where some children were having breakfast. One child was eating a cinnamon roll. S. walked up and said, “That is really bad for you. It is full of preservatives and sugar.” All that was true, however it was none of our business. The child’s mother was not impressed and I was ready to sink into the floor.
Later, S. and I talked about the incident and how our beliefs and lifestyle cannot be imposed on others. We can let others know what we think without embarrassing or angering them. We can share something as big as our faith or some small fact in a tactful, loving manner. If our intercession works to belittle or causes the other person to feel humiliated, then we are doing it wrong.
I let him know that he can always come to me and whisper whatever is confusing him, and then we can arrange a private location to discuss it or will talk about it later at a more convenient moment.
When too much honesty causes S. to be inappropriate, I have him go back and apologize, not for his being truthful, but for the blunt manner of expressing it. We have made great progress which likely has much to do with him getting older. He is ten years old now so he has learned some vital social skills.
I always remember a humorous story I read years ago in Reader’s Digest. A mom was serving dinner to her kids and was having difficulty getting the ketchup out of the bottle so she was pounding on the bottom. The doorbell rang and her little boy went to answer it, finding the pastor standing there. He asked the child if the mom could speak a minute only to hear, “No she cannot come to the door. She is hitting the bottle right now.”
The truth is a great thing. Too much of it without being balanced with tact can cause problems. Recycled Moms, encourage your children to be truthful at all times. The Bible includes lying as one of the forbidden actions that God expressly hates. Our society encourages lying even if by omission or exaggeration. It is always wrong and never results in a positive solution. While teaching tact, expound on the importance of being truthful. It is a difficult thing for adults to always tell the truth because we have been conditioned to lie. Children have honesty and truth ingrained in their innocent souls and that should be encouraged while it is controlled. Go forth Recycled Moms and conquer with truth, honesty and a few cringes!