Teaching the Value of Truth and Trust
The incident I had with my son at age 3 was the reason that we began this adventure of helping parents teach values to their kids. Understanding the meaning of the words “truth” and “lie” are often based on a child’s age and maturity.
Young children whose needs are met learn that the world is trustworthy. They learn to feel secure; they are willing to explore and discover. Without trust, fear develops, and fear breeds lies. Youngsters sometimes test the difference between reality and fantasy. Adults should tell the truth and expect children to tell the truth in return. We want little ones to trust God. Adults are their first examples of what God is like. We must be trustworthy so that children can learn how to trust the Lord. You might want to avoid using the words, “truth” and “lie,” because these are difficult ideas for young children to understand. Talk about “answers to our questions” for “truth” and “made-up stories” for “lies.” Tell anecdotes and tales to your children and comment that they are “made-up stories.” If little ones do tell lies, see their mistakes as learning experiences. Tell them that you still love them.
Please use the following age level specific guidelines to help you teach this particular value.
3 – 4 YEAR-OLDS:
Three and four year-olds try to please adults and are sensitive to disapproval. At this age, rules are right because mom and dad say they are right. Kids this age are very imaginative so what appears to be lies may only be wishful thinking or storytelling. It also may be that if one child talks about his or her experience, another may claim to have had exactly the same experience. How to handle this? Ask fewer questions which may or may not be answered accurately. Instead, make more statements about what you have observed such as “I see the milk is spilled.” As parents we need to model giving simple and truthful answers when our children ask us questions.
5 – 6 YEAR OLDS:
Five and six year-olds are moving into the age where they understand what it means to tell a lie and to tell the truth. Even though they are starting to understand truth and lie, they might not actually lie with an intent to deceive: they often get the facts mixed up. They may also change the facts just to make an event sound better and to seek your approval. If they are still not clear on “truth” and “lie” , explain the difference between “what really happened” and “hiding what really happened.”
7 – 9 YEAR OLDS:
Seven and nine year-olds will usually understand the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie. They still want to please you and will tell you what you want to hear. They are, however, at an age when you can talk with them more specifically about telling the truth and they will understand what telling the truth means.
Activities To Do to Learn About Truth and Trust
- Go on a trust walk. You start as the leader: your kid wears a blindfold. You take your child on a walk. He is fully dependent on you. The object is to build truth between you and your child so don’t play tricks. Then switch roles. You now have to trust him to lead you. It is a great opportunity to explain how trust and telling the truth are linked together.
- Draw a picture about the events of the day.
- Play “Do Like Me.” Player 1 says, “Everybody repeat after me: I like you; you like me. Do like me, on one, two, three! Okay everybody, _____________________!” (Fill in the blank with an action, such as laugh, fall down, give a hug.) Player 1 selects the next leader.
Quigley’s Village Recommended Video on Telling the Truth: “Danny Buys a Blobit”
The video that ties into this value is “Danny Buys a Blobit.” Mr. Quigley sends Danny Lion to the store to buy decorations for the Fun Day Picnic. When he gets to the store he sees a Blobit on sale. A Blobit is a toy that grows when you put it in water. Since he spent the money he was given for decorations on buying the blobit he tells one lie after another to cover up. He finally buries the Blobit. Then it rains and he is found out when the Blobit grows to 7 feet tall. Mr. Quigley then deals with Danny and telling a lie. Many parents have found Mr. Quigley’s way of dealing with Danny helpful in their parenting situations regarding telling the truth.
During the video, you may want to occasionally stop it and ask your children, “What do you think you would do (or feel or say) in this story?” Then, watch how the program ends.
After the video, ask your children to share what they thought about the story. Which character was their favorite? Which character was most like them? In what ways?
Additional activities to do after the video could be:
- Have a Fun Day Picnic. Each family member provides something: a game, the food, decorations, a story, a sign.
- Make silly putty (similar to a Blobit!) Mix well: 1 cup of Elmer’s white glue and 1/2 cup of Sta-Flo liquid starch. Let it dry in the bowl; store in an airtight container. Use on smooth surfaces.
- Make a box camera, just like the one Bubba makes for the Fun Day Picnic. Put a hole in each end of a shoebox. Fill in one hole, with a hollowed-out styrofoam cup for the camera lens. Leave the other hole for an eyepiece.
- Learn and sing together one of the songs from “Always Tell the Truth.”
Recommended Books to Learn About Truth and Trust
- “It’s the Truth,” Patricia C. McKissack. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984.
- “Sometimes I’m Good, Sometimes I’m Bad,” Elspeth Campell Murphy. Elgin, IL: David C. Cook, 1981.
- “Trouble in the School Yard,” Chuck Colson. Elgin, IL: David C. Cook, 1986.