Living Truthfully Being honest and truthful is among the first lessons parents teach their children. Parents’ commitment to truthfulness is what shapes the future of their children, says Kubra Rizvi
hen we discuss morality and values, it is difficult to state what value is the most essential or the most important. Regardless of religious affiliation or lack of it, honesty is regarded by most people as an essential moral value. Even though children are born honest and truthful, as lying is an action which is gradually learned, the question remains as to how parents can raise an honest child. The AhlulBayt(a) greatly emphasised keeping promises with children. Current psychological research shows that children primarily learn trust and honesty when their parents keep their promises. If a parent does not keep a promise, then that child learns dishonesty. Even a promise for something trivial like buying a sweet should not be broken, for it is at this early age that the child is developing values and morals.
September / October 2018
Prophet Muhammad(s) said, “Love children. Treat them with kindness and if you make a promise to them, fulfil it without fail. Children think that you are the provider of sustenance for them.” Similarly, Imam ‘Ali(a) stated: “Whenever you make a promise to children, definitely keep it.”
“Parents should always remember they need to role-model the values they would like to see reflected in their little ones.”
The keeping of promises is related to trust; if we keep our promises, then we build trust. On the contrary, if we break a promise, then we destroy trust. Trust is an integral part of society, as well as families. When someone does not keep a promise, it implies that he
does not value the person with whom the promise was made and that something else was more important than that commitment. Those with whom promises are broken learn that they cannot count on the person and thus relationships begin to suffer. Moreover, a person who breaks his promise tells himself that he does not value his own word; in essence he is disrespecting himself. The solution then is to evaluate the promises we make and only commit to those things which we know we can keep. Just like a child who has to be brave when admitting he did something wrong instead of lying, sometimes we need to be brave enough to say no and not make false promises. Families should discuss the value of honesty, for it is the quality which nurtures trust between family members, especially parents and children. Furthermore, parents should always remember they need to rolemodel the values they would like to see reflected in their little ones. Another vital point is that we should
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