When it comes to children I believe that teaching them honesty is the best policy. I also think it is important that we discuss honesty as it relates to the following questions:
Will being honest help or hurt?
We have all been in those circumstances when either we or someone else believes that it is our right to be honest in delivering what we understand to be the truth. Our egos and sense of judgment become a primary motivator in delivering this truthful information. Often we lose sight of the other person that is on the receiving end. The feeling of righteousness or our personal vindication overshadows the exchange of information.
Let’s take an example from AA’s 12 Step Program. Step five requires brutal honesty stating: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. It goes on further with step nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
The 12 Step Program requires personal accountability through honest and open self-examination as per step five, however, step nine requires participants to evaluate whether their pursuit of honesty and amends will hurt another person. The emphasis is compassionate discernment. The feelings of others are paramount in when and how we share the truth.