Honesty: teach them how, as well as what and why

photography.nationalgeographic.com/ July 14, 2009

Download the 1-page lesson plan:  Honesty sharing time outline.

Download a 1-page story about a baseball player who was honest: Honesty story (also see below)

Looking for a Sharing Time or Family Home Evening lesson about honesty? Honesty can be a tough concept for children who like magical thinking and don’t realize that nothing – nothing – is ever hidden from the Lord. Very little is hidden from their parents and teachers either, at least not for long!

Joseph Smith was honest even when he was pressured to deny his First Vision. Jesus “always spoke the truth,” says the songwriter of Jesus Once Was a Little Child (CS 55).

Even more than telling children what they should do (“be honest”) and why (“it’s a commandment”), teach the how. It can be helpful for children to hear grownups help them disassemble the stumbling blocks: children may think they might get in trouble if they tell the truth, or they may fear that people may not like them. To avoid these situations, it’s tempting to try to cover up a bad choice by being dishonest. But adults can teach and testify that honesty is the only way to feel the sweet peace of the companionship of the Spirit. Being honest leads others to trust us.

Here’s a story that illustrates that principle.

Kent is Tempted

For four innings the two teams battled on even terms; neither had scored. During the first of the fifth, there were two men out and one man on second base attempting to steal third. The catcher made a nice peg to Kent, the third baseman, in what looked like a sure out. The runner made a beautiful slide and as Kent attempted to tag him, he knew he narrowly missed the runner. From the umpire’s position it looked like an out, and that’s the way he called it. The fans let out a tumultuous yell. But Kent stood at third.

“Play ball!” shouted the umpire.

“No, he wasn’t [out],” came the astounding reply from Kent. “I didn’t tag him. The umpire is wrong. The runner should be called safe.”

A hushed silence gripped the crowd. A few catcalls were aimed at Kent for being so dumb as not to take advantage of the umpire’s decision. Under their breath his teammates were cursing Kent. But inwardly Kent knew that he had fought off temptation, and that was his only compensation. He felt good about it.

[Later in the game] Kent was at bat. Some of the fans [were] still heckling Kent for his fifth inning stand. Two strikes were called. It looked like Kent might strike out. Then he made a nice long hit over the right fielder. Kent circled the bases – past second, third, then on toward home. The throw-in was coming. The play was going to be close. One runner had scored; this would be the winning run. The catcher had the ball. Kent was forced to make a hook slide past the catcher. This he did beautifully. The dust and the umpire’s position made it impossible for him to tell whether the catcher had tagged the runner. It was a tough decision for the umpire, the second one in the game. The umpire walked straight towards Kent and looked him square in the eye. “Did he tag you?” asked the umpire sharply.

“No sir, he didn’t.” In a flash the crowd sensed that the game was won. Kent’s word was good with the umpire. (Adapted from Gospel Truths, by A.C. Nielsen, LDS Department of Education; page 175, quoted in Scripture Lessons in Leadership: Appendices to Teacher’s Manual, Deseret Sunday School Union, 1962, 534-535)

Use this story as part of a Sharing Time lesson. Download the 1-page Honesty sharing time outline.

-Marci

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