Honesty - Valuable, Yet Rare
There are games you play where you “fake one way and go another.” You try to have your opponent think something about your intent that isn’t true. This is particularly true in sports. However, there are other places in life where allowing dishonesty in your intent is a little less clear. Thinking that people are telling you the truth when they are not is destructive to you, to others and to the greater good. Unfortunately, yet another situation can be even more destructive, particularly to your children. There are times when people “fake” telling you the truth while intentionally deceiving you. As we raise our children we must be careful to warn them of such deceptions and avoid exposing them to this.
Clearly, learning to compete with honesty has value. The “honesty” part is included in the rules of the game. Even here, we need to be careful when our children are taught that they can play with the rules. For example, some play with the thought that, “The rules are for the other guy”, “Rules are made to be broken” or more deviously, “There are the rules and then there is what you can get away with.” While it is certainly a part of many professional sports, it isn’t really something that I think we want our children bringing into their life. Imagine your son or daughter telling you, “No, the teacher didn’t hand out report cards today” when in fact the teacher had her aide hand them out!
Poor Examples of Honesty: American Courts and Media
The American court system is a confusing place. Jurors are to render their honest opinion while attorneys are under no such obligation. Recently, I saw the incredulous looks on juror’s faces as a judge instructed them on the policies of an attorney's closing argument. The case was already complex but I saw their overwhelm as they were told that the attorneys needn’t be honest with them.
Our news media is another story. Since September 11, 2001, the media runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. News programing is created to keep you interested and coming back for more. The news personalities are chosen and groomed to present in an authoritative and straightforward manner. Families watch their favorite evening news programs and the children watch along. They watch the news personalities as they twist the truth, much like attorneys in a courtroom, following the will of those that pay their salary.
The problem is that the children believe that these handsome personalities, condoned to enter their home, are telling the truth. There are at least two problems with this. The children watch as these respected adults demean each other and slowly adopt this style of communication. The underlying message being - the purpose of a discussion is to prove that the other person is intrinsically a bad person. The second problem for your children is that they learn to respect and follow those who communicate in this way. They literally have two choices at this point, to become a bully themselves or to become a follower.
Teach Your Children to Value Honesty
The real issue isn’t what exposure to this kind of human programming creates. The real tragedy is what they are not learning. They are not seeing thoughtful communication where two people risk saying what they really believe and yet have the wisdom to listen and consider changing their minds. They are not seeing people with differing opinions approach each other with honesty and respect. Lastly, they are not directed to connect with the most important part of their lives - their relationships - rather than passing opinions.
Consider all that you expose yourself and your family to each day. It is in your family that your children first learn the value they bring to the world and the value of family and other relationships. There is a Oneness you want your children to feel with their spiritual source. There is a Oneness you want them to feel between themselves and those they love. Lastly, there is a Oneness you want them to be aware of between themselves and their world. From this place they will learn and share their truth. From this place they will say what they mean and mean what they say.
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