The seeds of conscientiousness are sown in childhood. Though a known fact, how many of us take it seriously?
To cite a small real life example, Dr. Anupam Sibal, a pediatrician was attending to his four year old patient Aadil. After the consultation, when he was about to bid goodbye to his patient, he heard the child whisper something into his mother’s ear, “Injection”. The doctor was surprised because he was not due for any injection. The doctor asked the mother for the reason. The mother said that Aadil has become very fussy about eating. Hence, she had warned him if he did not start eating better, he would get an injection. So, when the child realized his examination was over and his mother had forgotten about the injection, the little boy reminded her. It was a rare act of pure honesty.
What comes to your mind reading this?
As kids they don’t make any deliberate effort to lie. Some parents might believe that it is the child’s nature and it is necessary to punish dishonesty to prevent it from taking over. Actually parents often set their kids to lie. They confront the kids with anger or threat and the kids are afraid to speak the truth. If you make it safe for them, they will be honest. As parents when we cannot always prevent exposure to dishonesty outside our home, we need to model honesty at home not only in words but also in our life style.
Asking for a medical leave from school so that a child can go for a family tour is dishonesty as is getting someone else to do the child’s homework. Neither can happen without the support of the parents. What platform are we setting for the child to practise honesty?
While we should lead by example we should also share examples of honesty with children.
There are living examples of communities which adhere to integrity in a world where virtue is rare. When we see our kids display honesty; we should be lavish in praise. It is a positive reinforcement which makes the child repeat the behavior and slowly it becomes a habit.
James E. Faust says, “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” Let us ask ourselves, “Are we giving enough opportunities for our children to be honest?