This year my family is focusing on a different value each month from Teaching Your Children Values by Richard and Linda Eyre.
I am glad the first value is honesty, because my three-year-old has proved to me recently that she has very little concept of truth vs. lie.
There are four Mondays this month. I have divided the topic of honesty into four short lessons that I hope will stick with my three-year-old and six-year-old.
Week 1: What is truth? What is a lie? It's okay to have opinions. God is a God of truth.
- Ether 3:12: "And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie."
- Alma 7:20: "I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round."
- "Truth or lie?" game: make several obvious statements and let family members decide whether I am telling the truth or lying.
- Elder Marvin J. Ashton: “A lie is any communication given to another with the intent to deceive” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 10; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 9).
- Discuss that it is okay to have opinions, and that not all questions have a right or wrong answer. (Examples: What do you think of this broccoli? What is your favorite movie? Do you want to clean your room or go to the zoo?)
- Tell story "The Lie."
- Moses 4:4: "And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice."
- 2 Nephi 28:8: "And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God."
- “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become [Satan's] slaves” (Mark E. Petersen, in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, p. 65; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 73).
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf (link goes to story and audio file)
- Ask a family member questions. This family member has been notified ahead of time that he or she is to answer only in lies. Wrap thread around the person's wrist every time a lie is told. Have him or her try to break free. Discuss that many little lies can hurt us over time, even if each one seems harmless.
- Tell the story from p. 41 of Teaching Your Children Values.
- 2 Corinthians 4:1–2: "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."
- Make index cards with situations that might lead us to be dishonest. Discuss the consequences of responding with either truth or lie.
- Tell the story from p. 49 of Teaching Your Children Values.
- Tell the story from p. 54 of Teaching Your Children Values.
- From Gospel Principles: "People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Some excuse themselves for stealing, thinking they deserve what they took, intend to return it, or need it more than the owner. Some cheat to get better grades in school or because “everyone else does it” or to get even. These excuses and many more are given as reasons for dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons. President Kimball taught that when we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves and the Spirit of God ceases to be with us. We become more and more unrighteous. (See Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 234.)"
- President Joseph F. Smith: “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that we will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 252).
- D&C 136:25: "If thou borrowest of thy neighbor, thou shalt restore that which thou hast borrowed; and if thou canst not repay then go straightway and tell thy neighbor, lest he condemn thee."
- D&C 136:26: "If thou shalt find that which thy neighbor has lost, thou shalt make diligent search till thou shalt deliver it to him again."
- D&C 136:20: "Seek ye; and keep all your pledges one with another; and covet not that which is thy brother’s."
- Exodus 20:15: "Thou shalt not steal."
- Discuss situations in which it might be tempting to be dishonest (see Teaching Your Children Values, p. 54).