Embracing Truth

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Dads, at some point, your child will eventually lie. And I want to ask how you will handle it when your child lies to you. Because it will happen. And remember that it’s not because your children are bad kids, it’s most likely because they don’t want to disappoint you or they want to avoid punishment. Those are the same reasons adults lie. We don’t want to disappoint our spouse, our boss, or our friend. Or we want to avoid the consequences of something we did wrong, so we lie.

It’s the reason people generally don’t tell their spouses that they are having an affair. On top of not wanting to disappoint that person or deal with the consequences, they don’t want to stop. But that’s just selfishness. The reason you may not admit a big mistake to your boss is because you don’t want to lose your job. Omission can also be a lie. One person told me that she didn’t lie a lot as a teenager, but she confessed that if her mom didn’t ask her something in exactly the right way, she didn’t offer all of the information she knew that her mom wanted.

When my son Josh was in third grade, he admitted to cheating. After he explained how the cheating had come about, I shared with him how I had also cheated at his age. He was surprised, but relieved, and it helped him not to feel alone. That didn’t mean I let him off the hook. I told him that he would need to confess what he did to his teacher. Of course, he didn’t want to, but while I showed him grace regarding what he did, he still needed to deal with the consequences. From that day on, he understood how much his mom and I value honesty.

One of the ways you can create a safe environment for your children to tell the truth is to make them feel comfortable. If you start out by yelling or condemning them without hearing their story, they will be reluctant to come to you the next time. When your children do tell you the truth, commend them for it and tell them how much you appreciate their honesty.

If honesty is a character trait you value in your family, you need to set the example so that you can win more often at home.