One of my sons came home from school (he was in the 5th grade at the time) and I stood in the kitchen, holding a letter from the school. The envelope contained a copy of a disciplinary note that he was supposed to bring me a copy of two weeks earlier.
It is in how we handle those moments, and all of the moments in between, that teach our sons how important it is to be honest.
It makes a mama mad to know her son is being anything less than honest with her. In a world that beckons boys to say what they think others want to hear, how can we help them become honest men of integrity?
O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. Psalm 15: 1-2
Here are a few key areas to focus on when teaching sons to be honest:
- Model honesty in your everyday life. Our boys are watching us. They hear us whisper to our spouse to tell the person on the other line that we aren’t home to take their call. They see us paste a fake smile on our faces as we walk into church, after arguing with our spouse the whole way there. They watch us tell the panhandler that we don’t have any cash, when we just left the ATM. If we think your sons are too young to notice the nuances of dishonesty that cloud our lives, we are lying to ourselves.
- Reward honesty. Teach your boys that the consequences of lying will be more severe then if they come clean when questioned. Let them tell you hard things without fear of your reaction.
- Give Biblical examples. The Bible is full of stories that teach the importance of being honest. Show your child what happens when the truth is not priority. Stories like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) are great places to start.
The world needs more honest men. Let’s do our best to raise them.
Lord, we humbly ask that you provide us the strength to be women of honesty. Show us how to lead our boys in your ways and how to help them live lives of truth. Give us patience, wisdom and grace for our boys, the same that You have for us. In Jesus name, Amen.
How do I handle my teenager’s lying, when my husband is blatantly modelling untruthfulness?
Oh Irena, that is a difficult tightrope to walk. Is your husband receptive to feedback about why modeling honesty is important? If you can’t get him on the same page as you, perhaps having a heart to heart with your son about why you value honesty and expect it from him. I would impose consequences regardless of your spouses behavior as your goal is to teach your son to be honest and also to be accountable for his own actions. As a teen, he should be able to understand that he needs to be honest regardless of the honesty of others and needs to learn not to use anyone else’s dishonest behavior as an excuse to engage in that behavior himself.I will be praying for you, your son and your husband!
Show us how to lead our boys in your ways and how to help them live lives of truth. Yes! This is my prayer for my boys. I had a situation where one of my son’s took some point tickets and the teacher just said, “Oh, that happens. It is too much temptation for them.” without any real consequence. I love the forgiveness and grace, but I think it is important sometimes to follow through on consequences for dishonesty or any sin so that they know the impact of sin.
Yes, those “white lies” definitely confuse kids, heck, they confuse me! it’s always best to be honest and I think that honesty is probably the first step in being a child of God, at any age.
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