ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Life Skills: Honesty

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Life Skills: Honesty

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"Honesty is always the best policy" George Washington

Halloween is all about masks and disguises, so it’s the perfect time of the year to talk about shedding the masks we create to hide who we really are. Many of us are honest with others but not always honest with ourselves, or how we represent ourselves to other people. We are afraid that if we reveal how we really think or feel, others will not like us. Since authenticity (being true to who are) is the foundation for all good relationships, this is one of those important life lessons that will impact your child’s happiness throughout their lifetime.

We need to teach the little people in our lives that it is okay to express their true feelings, as long as they do it in respectful and constructive ways. Young children naturally say what they feel and think, but they learn early in life that many emotions are “bad,” so they begin to lie in order to hide those “bad” feelings.

It is important to tell your children that honesty means expressing emotions that may seem silly, scary or bad. Always praise them for being honest and never reprimand or punish them for expressing their feelings. There should be consequences for behaving in disruptive, unkind, hurtful ways, but feelings should be accepted for what they are – just feelings. One of the best ways to teach your children the importance of honesty is to be honest with them by openly discussing your own feelings as much as is appropriate.

Exercpts taken from The Happy Home Club.

Conversation Starters:
What is honesty?
Why is it important to be honest?
What are the consequences of dishonesty?
Tell about a time you were honest. How did it make you feel?
Is there ever a time when "honesty is not the best policy"

Talk honestly about silly masks and faces with your children while making Glad/Sad/Mad Pretzels

Work with your children to write an honesty pledge. A commitment from them to be truthful in their words and actions. Ask them to sign the pledge after it is written.

With young children, put together this printable honesty train.

The Baby Center has a useful article on how to teach honesty to young children.

Teacher Planet has assembled a long list of Honesty lessons and activities.

Read a rebus story about honesty.
The Honest Mouth from Object Talks For Any Day by Kokmeyer
Ask the students if anyone knows what happens when you eat black licorice? (Put a piece in your mouth. You may want to put extra black food coloring on your piece before visiting the classroom; this will enhance the effect.) A mouth that has eaten black licorice turns black. (After chewing, open your mouth to show the result.) Yuck! Not only does your tongue look horrible, but soon your teeth and even your lips get black. It takes a long time before your mouth returns to its normal color. Dishonesty has a lasting effect on you, just like the black licorice. Like the licorice leaves our mouths black for a long time, we can see the results of telling lies long after we've told them. Others will lose their trust in us, privileges will be taken away, and friendships will be lost. Telling lies will leave a black ugly mark on you--just like the black licorice. Remember: It's always best to be honest and true, don't let the stain of dishonesty leave its mark on you.

The Tower of Flour from 10-Minute Life Lessons by Jaime Miller
Begin by spreading newspaper on a table. Place the dime in the center of the bottom of the plastic cup. Scoop flour into the glass. Pile it to the brim and press down firmly to make it compact. Place the paper plate on top of the glass and turn them over together on the newspaper. Tap the glass gently, and carefully lift it off. The flour will remain standing in the shape of the glass with the dime on top. Explain that the dime represents the trait honesty. Next, take the knife and carefully slice off the edge of the “flour tower’ being careful not to cut
too deeply. This represents what happened when we tell lies. Our reputation is weakened. Others will not trust or respect us, and eventually the tower of trust falls. Notice how each time more flour is removed the dime’s position becomes more precarious. Continue until the dime drops in.

Book Suggestions for Honesty

Franklin Finders Keepers, Paulette Bourgeois
Berenstain Bears and the Truth, Jan Berenstain
Jamaica’s Find, Juanita Havill
Arthur’s Computer Disaster, Marc Brown
To Tell Truth, Patti Farmer
Sly Fox and the Chicks, Carl Sommer
The Big Fat Enormous Lie, Margorie Weinman Sharmat
Tyrone, The Double, Dirty Rotten Cheater, Hans Wilhelm
Too Many Tamales, Gary Soto
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, Diane DeGroat
Honest Abe, Edith Kunhardt
Summer Wheels, Eve Bunting
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, Gordon Korman
The Summer When I was Ten, Pat Brisson
The Honest to Goodness Truth, Patricia C. McKissack
If You Had To Choose, What Would You Do? Sandra McLeod


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