Can you handle the truth?

Posted on December 27, 2013 · Posted in Communication, Parenting

Truthfulness is something that we value in other people. But how about for yourself? Do you value the truth? I am sure you would say yes if you were asked. However, there are times when we are tempted to not say all that is true, or perhaps to shade the truth for our own benefit. Here is an example:

Your son who is eight, is complaining he didn’t get as many Christmas cookies as his sisters and he thinks that is unfair. You tell him:

“Michael, there was one plate for the whole family, you, your sisters, and dad. I told everyone, including you, that the cookies were out of the oven and ready to eat. But you said you were busy playing your new game and would come later. Well, while you were playing everyone else had some, your uncle came by and grabbed a couple and so did your dad. There are still some left for you, so don’t complain.”

“Mom it is still not fair. Olivia and Grace got more cookies than I did.”

At this point you are thinking to yourself, if I push Michael on this there is going to be a major confrontation. I really don’t have time for this. More family is coming for dinner and I have to finish preparing. So you say something like this to Michael.

“Michael, you really shouldn’t complain. I’ll make you a deal. I am going to make another batch. When they come out, you can have first pick. Only you have to stop complaining right now. So, do we have a deal?”

“Okay, I guess.”

Did mom tell the truth? Or did she shade the truth for the sake of convenience? Michael needs to hear the truth about his sin and selfishness. Instead, what he heard was that it is okay to complain till he gets what he wants. If this attitude is left in place there will be some major issues ahead for Michael and his parents. 

In “Get Wisdom!”, Ruth Younts says this about truthfulness:

“Truthfulness is telling information accurately, without exaggerating or misleading.

A prayer to teach your children, and yourself, about truthfulness:

Lord, help me to be truthful. Sometimes, I am afraid if I tell the truth I’ll get in trouble or someone will be angry with me. Thank you that Jesus died to pay for all the sins of his people. Please give me the courage to please you be being truthful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Though Get Wisdom! was written to instruct young children about biblical wisdom, it reminds us that the things we teach our children are the same things that God wants us to learn and practice.  We struggle with truthfulness just as much as our children do. May God give us the courage, as adults, to pray this same prayer. 



Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.