Teaching toddlers about honesty

For Family Home Evening a few Mondays ago, Taylor and I had an intervention with a practicing pick-pocket in our home. The lesson was on honestyWe are failing at potty training so we're hoping to redeem ourselves with some other kind of productive child rearing.

Prior to the intervention, Taylor and I met over milkshakes and talked about the importance of honesty. We had a deep talk about how little lies can easily be made into a habit, and just as easily turn into bigger lies. We discussed the worst consequence we could think of: lying to ourselves. The person we ought to trust the most would be our own heart, right?

Yes, it was a good discussion. And we had all the dreams in the world to pass the mantle of knowledge to our little, impressionable, and unsuspecting tot. Teaching little people big concepts is a hard thing to feel successful doing. But, we try.

When FHE came around, I took a couple of Arrow's beloved animals: Giraffe and Meow Meow. Giraffe and Meow Meow were staged in the act of crime. Meow Meow was stealing Giraffe's crayons and pretending she didn't have them. The play was supposed to wrench hearts, but Arrow stood strong as a good leader by supplying sad Giraffe with new crayons and hugs between her animals.

Stop being kind and sharing, kid. I'm trying to teach you the life of a master criminal, I thought to myself.

January was deemed to be the month of honesty in our home. We went on to describe what stealing was and how it was not honest. We talked about what honest is and how to be honest.  Of course, being two and still working on a basic comprehension of the English language, Arrow didn't understand honest right away. In fact, she had a great time practicing it, only an hour later, when I caught her shoveling the forbidden chips from the counter as fast as her mouth could swallow. 

I, being the ever kind and gracious mother I am, did not get frustrated, despite the screaming baby in my arms and despite Arrow peeing her pants mid theft. (I tell you, we are failing this potty training thing.) In a lovely tone, we had another conversation about honesty and how we could try again.

Kidding. I was a shaking bundle of nerves and was altogether too snappy about it.

The baby's screams did shake my nerves, understandably. Right then was not a moment for honesty, for honesty was driving me a little nuts right then. But, it could have been a good lesson for kindness or charity.

But tomorrow we try again. And again. And all the way up until the Jan 31st because that's when we're stuffing this honesty business away to store until next winter and moving on to February's family value of "fun" instead.

Kidding, again. :)

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