Catholic Activity: Preschool Parent Pedagogy: Truthfulness and Courage in Preschool Children
The foundations of truth and courage must be laid in the early years. We can do this through example and through direct teaching.
In the early years, the foundations of the virtues of truth and courage must be laid. The approach is twofold:
- Through example. Stories of truthful, honest children set up models whom admiring youngsters will certainly follow. The lives of saints serve this purpose. St. Agnes answers the truth at the cost of life. All the martyrs teach the same lesson and show extraordinary courage.
- Through direct teaching. When the occasion arises, perhaps at four-and-a-half or five years, the parent should explain directly that children of God tell the truth.
As a matter of fact little ones brought up in a loving atmosphere, where the spirit of the Lord Jesus is ever present, are not likely to be untruthful.
If a baby is slapped for breaking a cup or knocking over something precious, the foundation for fear and lying has been laid. Never punish a child for an accident. He did not intend to drop the cup or knock over the lamp. If you blame him for what he did not mean to do, you lead him to try to deceive you. Next time you find a broken cup, you will say, "Did baby break the cup?" and he will say, "No." Blame yourself and start on the difficult task of undoing the wrong you have done. You must say very clearly, "Mother knows you did not mean to do it." Kiss him and say, "We can easily get another cup."
Many imaginative children make up stories of great doings which they talk about as if they were true. Do not imply that such things are lies. On that score, most of our literature is lies. The baby is "making up" a story. Call it "make believe" and let the distinction be clear between make-believe stories and real life.
News from Other Parents
One mother reports a story of a little girl, one of a large family, who was inclined to go by herself to play, one in a while. She had two imaginary playmates, Christopher and Neddie, with whom she played games and carried on long conversations. Her talk about her make-believe companions was harmless as long as she played with her brothers and sisters and did not become a little solitary.
Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Pre-School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938