Saying things without thinking or out of impulse is something we all learn NOT TO DO. Some learn earlier than others and some, well, never learn. This is a current feat we are aiming for with my kids, as they have fallen into the habit of jumping at the chance of calling each other out on a wrongdoing when asked, “whodunnit?”
The immediate response? To yell out the name of the other sibling.
We had a little discussion tonight as I caught one of them doing this very thing. I asked, “Who broke my necklace?” and my youngest son was quick to cry out his brother’s name.
What was my initial reaction? To call in my other son and ask if he had broken it. He was very adamant that he DID NOT. Okay, either he is lying or my other son is (or maybe they both are) Either way… I turn to my son and ask if he physically SAW his brother do this act. What was his response? A sheepish. NO. I sat him on his bed on the time-out of DOOM.
I asked him where his Ipad was and the tears began to well, as he knew that the usual punishment was a grounding from his Ipad. As I walked to the other room, and as he thought of his “eternal” punishment (or what seems like eternity to an 8 year old), I opened his bible app in the other room and got a pen and notebook out. At the top of the sheet I wrote, “What does the bible say about bearing false witness?” I told him to search the underlined words and he immediately found:
“You must not tell lies about other people.” Exodus 20:16
He wrote this verse down a few times for himself. I told him to come see me when he was done. When he did he said, “I really thought about it, Mom. I’m sorry for lying.” We chatted a little bit and he told me he should really think about what he is going to say before he says it. So I looked up this image that I remembered seeing from my years of teaching. It really struck home tonight with him, and although this isn’t an overnight fix, we are on the road toward impulse control and honesty. I hope it is helpful to you.
Let’s teach our children how to choose their words. Let’s teach them to be honest, help others, inspire, speak up when necessary, and to be kind.