Nothing can cause more strife and discord in a family than dishonesty! Unfortunately, the Christmas season provides more than ample opportunities to stretch, hide, and flat out distort the truth.
Whether it’s stealing candy from the candy dish, sneaking into closets to preview gifts, or actually peeling open already wrapped packages to see what’s inside, children who struggle with telling the truth may find the temptation to lie overwhelming. Is telling the truth about those things really such a big deal? Is it possibly acceptable during the holidays to fudge the truth just a little bit?
For children, and even some adults who struggle with the negative character quality of lying, turning the holidays into a safe time for “acceptable” fibs can be devastating. Lies can destroy a family and it’s not okay to set our children up to see some lies as acceptable when others are off-limits.
I’ll be honest. Catching every lie is exhausting work. Sometimes, I just want to ignore those holiday lies. I want to take a break from character building and just enjoy my Christmas. Sometimes, I give into my own laziness!
Unfortunately, the results of those decisions are never good or fruitful. The children who are allowed to deceive, even in little ways, for the holidays, simply strengthen their already well-established character of deception. For my children who aren’t characterized by lying, the holidays don’t even tempt them to lie; they just continue to elevate truth telling. They aren’t looking for an opportunity to justify any lack of character.
But for those “non truth-tellers,” I just make life harder in the long run. Instead of consistently insisting on “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” I build an atmosphere of selective truthfulness. Since I prove myself unwilling to discipline for dishonesty during the holidays, I set those children up to fail. They can’t count on my consistency, so they begin to push the boundaries of honesty more often and more blatantly.
When you insist on honesty, you are preparing your children to be successful for their entire lives. Having a reputation for trustworthiness and honesty will open doors for your children and protect them from attacks on their character.
There is a huge difference between make-believe and lying.
Make sure your children understand the difference, and then clearly establish your family standard of truth telling. Children who grow up in a home where honesty is expected will grow up to hold themselves to a high standard of honest character. It’s not hard to teach honesty, it just takes diligent teaching and consistent enforcement.
The scriptures make it clear that God hates lying and loves honesty. Should our standard be any lower?
Don’t allow your family to take a holiday from the truth! Your consistency will provide security and will make Christmas a sweeter and more Christ-honoring celebration for the whole family.