Trusted news anchor Brian Williams shared an amazing story about being in a helicopter when it was shot down during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The only problem with the story was the crew on the helicopter that was shot down had no recollection of Williams being on their helicopter or the others flying in formation with it.
When Williams was confronted about his story, he ultimately admitted that he was not on that helicopter. His misstep cost him his coveted evening anchor seat, at least for a time.
Williams isn’t the only one who struggles to remember details accurately. Many employers are finding job applicants with embellished resumes – not necessarily a bold-faced lie, but stretching the truth for sure. Many students feeling the pressure of applying to colleges and needing to stand out in the crowd have found “creative” ways of talking about their high school career and extracurricular activities.
Among the character qualities most parents try to instill in their children, telling the truth is close to the top of the list because they know that dishonesty at any level creates an atmosphere of mistrust within relationships. Yet those same parents who are talking about the importance of telling the truth will turn right around and be dishonest in front of their children.
Some may remember the episode of Andy Griffith where Andy was trying to teach Opie the importance of being honest. Opie sold his bike to a friend, but failed to tell him all of the things that were wrong with the bike. Andy told Opie that he would have to tell his friend the truth about the bike. In the midst of the bike saga, Andy has the opportunity to sell his home. When the potential buyers came to look at the house Opie began telling them all of the things that were wrong with the house. Andy got mad at Opie for telling the “house secrets.” Totally confused, Opie looked at his dad and said, “I thought you said it was important to tell the truth no matter what.”
Telling the truth is honoring to individuals and helps build healthy trusting relationships. But it is important not to stop there. Parents need to help children understand how to be honest in difficult situations and why honesty is the best policy.
Here are some helpful suggestions for parents:
Many will testify that it may take a really long time, but truth always reveals itself. Would you rather be known as someone who tells the truth or one who is deceitful?
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