There is Freedom in Telling the Truth
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” – Proverbs 21:23
The Truth is a fascinating topic. Let’s get beyond whether objective Truth, as in right and wrong, exists (it does) and how frustrating it is that truth often seems to be “stretched” to serve political purposes, and focus on how important the truth is for our kids. As my wife and I raised our girls, there was no greater rule in our home than telling the truth. It was at the heart of our entire relationship with each other and our daughters. In fact, the most pronounced discipline was reserved for when one of them did not tell the truth. Why?
I think John 8:32 says it best, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Now John is specifically talking about knowing the Truth of Jesus Christ and the freedom found in a relationship with Him, but I think it also speaks to the relationship between parents and children. When a child, especially as they get older, speaks the truth, it allows for an incredible relationship of trust. As a parent, when I know I can trust my child it opens up amazing doors of communication and opportunity and freedom for him/her and for me! I am willing to let go a little bit more because I have confidence in their decision making and in their being honest with me. The freedom is in my willingness to “say yes” without worry and their participation in new opportunities.
But break that trust by lying, and the relationship is severely damaged. It makes it very difficult to move forward with that previous level of freedom. In fact, you can’t. That trust has to be rebuilt and reestablished and it takes time to do that. That’s usually very frustrating as a parent because our children have tasted a level of freedom they want to continue enjoying and they often struggle with newly imposed limitations. But establishing and maintaining trust is the cornerstone of every future relationship for them. As parents, we know that being truthful in life provides a tremendous amount of freedom. You don’t have to worry about keeping the lies straight or remember who you’ve told what to-truthfulness takes removes the walls of deception. And its good to explain all of this to our children. By the time they reach 4 or 5 years old, they need to know that lying is wrong and that you want and need to trust them. It may take a while for them to understand all of it, but you are building a foundation on which their entire future depends. That’s why building trust has to be a cornerstone in our parenting.