Catholic Activity: Honesty
Parents must cultivate honesty within their children, both by their own example and through constant emphasis of the importance of that virtue.
Are you strict about honesty? You have a responsibility to your child to develop this virtue in him, but you can do it only if you yourselves are honest.
Since the most convincing kind of teaching is that done by example, you must try to practice the virtue of honesty unceasingly before your children through everyday examples in the many practical transactions of daily life. Let there be no cheating or sharp practices in dealing with the grocer's bill or in selling a bushel of potatoes from the garden. Borrowed articles must be returned to their owners promptly and in the same condition as when they were borrowed. Damage or injury to property of the neighbors should be paid for according to fairness and justice.
Whatever promises you make to your child, keep them. If you must break a promise to him because of circumstances beyond your control, do not fib your way out of your predicament. Give your child credit for being fair and explain what has happened. He will understand and, best of all, he will know that you did not try to deceive him.
It is better not to make too many promises. Promises are like delayed punishment. They are not effective if a long time elapses between the making and the carrying out. Let your child live in an atmosphere of serenity where the occurrence of pleasant things is to be expected. He will not need extravagant promises - which, alas, can so often degenerate into bribes.
Activity Source: From Stroller to School, Parent-Educator Series 2, Leaflets 13-24, Three to Six Years by Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1962