We are parents and people who believe that trust is earned. We believe that honesty really is the best policy. We think there are others who believe as we do: that with a lot more honesty, the world could be a better place. #TheHonestyThing

Being Honest When Everyone is Watching

the-honesty-thing-speak-no-evilI recently came across an interesting article regarding a concept called pluralistic ignorance.

This is the concept that individual members of a group don’t believe something, but mistakenly believe everyone else in the group believes it. It can be seen in many examples of human behavior, from the mundane to the historically significant.

After seeing a news story about a group of people who witnessed a crime, have you ever wondered why no one stepped forward to try to stop it? The reason is twofold: everyone in the group thinks someone else will take action, and when they don’t, they think that everything else must think it’s OK. However, if just one person from the group does help, chances are good the rest of the group will help as well.

Pluralistic ignorance is one tool . . . → Read More truth: Being Honest When Everyone is Watching

Lying May Be Good for Kids

the-honesty-thing-empty-cookie-jarHere at The Honesty Thing, we like to be well, honest. So when I learned about some studies suggesting that children’s lying may lead them to be more successful when they are adults, I had to share. My spouse and I are parenting our children to put a high value on truth, so this study comes as a surprise.

One study indicated that very young children’s lies are actually a sign of healthy brain development. Lying is a complex activity for the brain—it involves keeping track of multiple pieces of information, using reasoning skills, and a hefty dose of imagination, all while keeping the truth in the back of the mind. It makes sense that this activity would definitely give your brain a workout!

The researchers in this study recommend not being too . . . → Read More truth: Lying May Be Good for Kids

Tell the Truth in Your Stories

the-honesty-thing-talking-bubbleAt 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day, our doorbell began to ring. Assuming it was a reveler playing tricks on the neighborhood, we didn’t think much of it. We opened the front door, to check on things, and the man who rang the doorbell was still there, trying to get into the house. He was very drunk, not dressed for the weather, and expressed that he was cold. He was told that he would soon be nice and warm in the squad car, because the police had been called. This was true. One of us was on the phone with 911 while the other was somehow finding witty things to say after being jolted out of bed to foil a home invasion. And the man did get to warm up in the back of a . . . → Read More truth: Tell the Truth in Your Stories

A New Year’s Resolution for Honesty

the-honesty-thing-new-years-resolutionWe’re coming up on a new year! Time to start thinking about getting healthy in the new year. One way to do that is to consider The Honesty Thing: trying to be more honest and seek out truth in the world around you. Being more truthful may make you more healthy. Really! In one study, participants who lied less in their everyday lives reported better physical and mental health.

Since you’re planning to exercise and eat healthy anyway, let’s just toss in some honesty and really feel the benefits.

Lying to Ourselves

Think about it: if we stayed home an entire day and didn’t talk to a single other person all day long, do you think that would make for a day with no lies? We lie to ourselves all the time. Learning . . . → Read More truth: A New Year’s Resolution for Honesty

The Truth About Santa Claus

the-honesty-thing-santaBefore we had kids, my husband and I discussed our parenting philosophies. When the subject of Santa Claus came up, my husband said he didn’t feel a need to lie to his children. I laughed, and then realized he was serious. I said NOT participating in the Santa thing would not work—our relatives will want to do the Christmas Eve Santa thing and they will do it in Elementary school and when you watch T.V. in December it will be all about Santa Claus. I said all the other kids’ parents would be mad at us because our kids would ruin it for everyone else. I mentioned that my parents got REALLY into the Santa thing on Christmas Eve, even making hoof prints and sleigh tracks in the snow outside our house. I laughed . . . → Read More truth: The Truth About Santa Claus

Christmas: That Magical Time of Year When We Encourage Our Children to Lie to Us

the-honesty-thing-santa-questionI was having lunch with some friends the other day, and we were talking about Santa Claus. One of the parents was concerned because her child was getting to the age where she was asking a lot of questions about Santa Claus: How does he visit ALL the houses in the world in one night? How does he know if I am naughty or nice? If the elves make the toys, why do the toys in the store look exactly the same? She wanted to know what to do. One of the dads replied that when his kids started asking questions, he told them that if they didn’t believe in Santa, they wouldn’t get any presents from Santa.

This seemed completely counterproductive to me. In the short term, yes, you would keep your child believing . . . → Read More truth: Christmas: That Magical Time of Year When We Encourage Our Children to Lie to Us

The Lies of The Elf on the Shelf

the-honesty-thing-evils-of-elf-on-shelfIt’s possible I have been living under a rock, but I hadn’t heard about “The Elf on the Shelf” until recently. The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is basically a child behavior modification kit containing a hardcover book and a “scout elf”. The book explains that these elves are how Santa Claus learns which children are naughty and which are nice. Santa sends his elves out to be adopted by families in these kits. The families are to read the book, name the elf, and register the adoption online. Then the elf receives its Christmas magic, allowing it to fly to the North Pole at night and report the family’s activities to Santa Claus. Then it flies home before morning for another day’s spying activities. The family is not to touch . . . → Read More truth: The Lies of The Elf on the Shelf

Parenting Tips to Inspire Honesty in Kids

the-honesty-thing-blue-bookFrom the time our children were very young, we as parents have laid the groundwork for our policy of truth and honesty. We understand through our own life experiences all of the problems with a situation when lying, deception or misdirection is used. We found through learning from these experiences that even though truth and honesty can be hard at times, it is the best way to handle a situation. Keeping these core principles in mind, we spoke honestly with each other about how we want to raise our children with these same values. The problem was, when we started really looking into specific parenting techniques and advice, deception tended to one of the parenting tools of choice. Knowing that this style of parenting was wrong for us, we developed our own way of handling situations.

. . . → Read More truth: Parenting Tips to Inspire Honesty in Kids

Dishonesty of Hiding Vegetables in Food

the-honesty-thing-hiding-foodOur household aims to eat healthy. Occasionally we have some French fries or sugary treats, but my husband and I think one of the most important things we can teach our children is healthy eating habits from the start. We talk to our children about nutrition and which foods are healthier and why. We try new things and sometimes get frustrated when they don’t want to eat them, but we keep trying.

In the past few years there has been a debate about how to get more nutrition in our picky eaters’ bodies, especially considering the obesity problem in America. Some people have proposed pureeing vegetables and hiding them in foods such as bread, cake, pasta sauces, even meatballs. Parents who say their child will not go near a vegetable say that this is their . . . → Read More truth: Dishonesty of Hiding Vegetables in Food

Problems With Creationism As Science

the-honesty-thing-creationismScience and social progress tend to cause friction with organized religion. And when science and religion disagree by 4.5 billion years, it’s going to be difficult to find middle ground. Creationism holds that the earth is around 6,000 years old, whereas most scientists agree that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Interpretations of the bible vary amongst religions and individuals, with some creationists believing the earth was made by God 6,000 years ago, in 6 days, while some accommodate scientific evidence into their own beliefs. I think most Christians tend to handle the conundrum in a way that many modern families tend to handle these questions: accepting both evolution and the idea that God created the universe without worrying too much about the details.

Televangelist Pat Robertson recently made news when he expressed doubts about . . . → Read More truth: Problems With Creationism As Science