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How Honesty Helps in Building a Child's Character

Updated on February 4, 2014

Honesty - the Traits

Honesty is one of the vital virtues involved in the framing of a child’s character and personality. Honesty means speaking the truth in all situations, being trustworthy and genuine. It is very essential to be honest in each and everything we do, as we, human beings, are answerable to our deeds. An honest person does what he says showing consistency in his thoughts and deeds. An honest attempt gives us a complete satisfaction, for example, a student gets a sense of satisfaction when he struggles hard and studies rather than cheating in the class. Similarly, honesty in what we do and what we say pays in the long run. A single lie told in an odd situation has to be covered by many unplanned lies afterwards, which lead to unnecessary tensions. One who is honest is brave, morally high and possesses great mental peace.

Honest Abe - An Exemplary Personality

A dishonest person is never given a second chance in his place of work if he meets with a failure, as he is not reliable and people retreat from believing him. A true honest person is highly principled and does not waver in different situations. Even during adverse situations, he speaks the truth and does what he believes to be the best, rather than changing his behavior due to the fear of a temporary failure, which is also a characteristic trait of a true leader.

The best example for this is Abraham Lincoln who was also called as "Honest Abe". Even though he was a lawyer by profession, he used to resolve issues and give judgment honestly. He encouraged his clients to go for out-of-court settlements to save their money. William Berry was his partner in grocery business who died leaving behind serious debts. Even in such a tough situation, Lincoln worked hard to pay off the debts (Howe). He started to be recognized due to his honesty and he won four consecutive terms in the legislature. He was even appreciated by his enemies (Stephen A. Douglas) due to his honesty (Leidner). Every deed and action of Abraham Lincoln was an example of honesty and hence children should be encouraged to read the life history of Abraham Lincoln.

Today's Challenges

Teaching good virtues and moral values to children, especially of the present generation, is a very challenging job for parents, as there are few live examples of honesty around us. We are surrounded by politicians who make undue promises, advertising agencies which lie, films and television shows which communicate wrong concepts to children. The present generation is in a mad race towards financial success and no one is really bothered about the path opted to attain this success. But we, as parents, should realize that if we can inculcate traits like honesty in our children, they grow up to become responsible and well behaved individuals, with a good character and high moral values (Nickles).

What we, as Parents, can do

  • Parents are the first examples to children and they learn a lot by interacting with them. Children generally follow what the parents do rather that what they say, hence parents should first avoid telling lies in front of their kids (Nickles).
  • Children generally hide things due to the fear of getting punished. If parents are friendly and remove the fear from their child’s mind, the chances of speaking truth increases. Even in tough situations like failure in studies, students should be encouraged to be sincere and honest in their attempts for the next time, rather than insulting them for their low marks.
  • Parents should discuss about the good and honest deeds of other children in his peer group so that he or she tries to prove himself or herself as an example.
  • Children should be encouraged to read moral stories, as they are the best means to communicate moral and ethical values. Children should be explained how dishonesty leads to temporary and short term benefits.

Childhood is the time when an individual’s personality starts getting framed, hence, by imparting moral values like honesty into their children; parents contribute towards the building up of a healthy society.

My sources of information

Howe, Walker, Daniel. “Honest Abe: Abraham Lincoln and the Moral Character.” The Newsletter of FPRI’s Wachman Center. June 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2009.

Leidner, Gordon. “Abraham Lincoln's great laws of truth, integrity: A long career ruled by honesty.” 24 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 Feb. 2009.

Nickles, Sherry. “Character counts! Honesty is the best policy.” 4-H Youth Development, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2009.


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