Honestyis a commitment to truth in thought, word, and deed. Telling the truth is the key to good character. An honest man can be trusted; he is reliable and other people are not afraid to count on him. Honesty involves making a conscious decision (and daily choices) to base your life upon the truth and to live in truth.
Synonyms for honesty include truthfulness, reliability, nobility, conscientiousness, frankness, genuineness, incorruptibility, integrity, probity, rectitude, reputability, responsibility, right, scrupulousness, sincerity, trustiness, trustworthiness, uprightness, and veracity.
Antonyms for honesty include dishonesty, lying, falseness, untruth, fibbing, deception, artifice, falsehood, fraudulence, treachery, cheating, unscrupulousness, duplicity and deceit.
“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” (Shakespeare’s Macbeth)
“Veracity requires us to speak the fact as far as we know it, to take pains not to talk about what we do not know.” (Charlotte Mason, Ourselves)
“The lie is the refuge of the coward when he is found out in a fault.” (Charlotte Mason)
“Prefer a loss to a dishonest gain; for the one is painful but once, but the other for one’s whole life.” (Chilon of Sparta)
“If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.” (The Talmud)
“The truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)
“When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete.” (Vaclav Havel)
“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.” (Jewish proverb)
“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying to others and to yourself.” (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” (Mahatma Ghandi)
“Lying can never save us from another lie.” (Vaclav Havel)
POEMS ABOUT HONESTY
Print and place in your virtue notebook. These poems can be used for memory-work, reading practice, or card-making and letter-writing.
“Nobility” by Alice Cary
“Truth” by Ben Jonson
THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
Print The Boy Who Cried Wolf Story and Notebooking Page. Then read this fable by Aesop with your child. Use this notebooking page to encourage your child to reflect on the lesson of the fable. Or dictate the moral to them.
THE STORY OF PINOCCHIO
Read The Story of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Or, for a shorter version, read this version of Pinocchio with your younger child. Discuss how honesty or dishonesty plays a role in this story. To explore the background of the story, see the wikipedia entry or conduct independent research on the author, Carlo Collodi.
Take an online field trip to Pinocchio Park in Italy.
Consider watching Roberto Benigni’s film version of Pinocchio (2002).
Dictation: One lie leads to another.
THE TALE OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN
Read The Story of Rumpelstiltskin (The Grimm Brothers) aloud. Then discuss how honesty or dishonesty plays a role in this story. If you’d like to explore the background of the story with your child, skip over to Rumpelstiltskin on wikipedia, which includes interesting information about the significance of the name, or the annotated version of Rumpelstiltskin, full of delicious details.
Write down and spell any new vocabulary words. For us, these included:
- A spinning wheel is an apparatus for making yarn or thread, consisting of a foot-driven or hand-driven wheel and a single spindle.
- A miller is one who works in, operates, or owns a mill, especially a grain mill.
- A fib is a lie.
Read the Reader’s Theatre version of Rumpelstiltskin with your family after dinner.
Explore the story through art. Compare a drawing by Anne Anderson and a drawing by John B. Gruelle. How do colors make the drawings feel different? Which drawing is more sad? Why? Which drawing do you prefer? Why?
Dictate the moral or lesson of this story to your child. For our dictation, we used the following statement: An exaggeration or boast often turns into a lie. Don’t fib to because you think it will impress others.
THE FROG PRINCE
Read the story of The Frog Prince with your child. In the story, a princess is playing near a pond, and drops her golden ball in the water. A frog offers to get the ball for her, but only if she will let him live in her house as her companion. The princess insincerely agrees, and the frog holds her to it. Usually, her father the king insists that she follow through on her promise. In the end, she kisses him or throws him at a wall or even just fulfills her promise, depending on the version you read, and he resumes his true, human form. They marry and live happily ever after. Discuss whether it is ever right to make an insincere promise, or whether the father was right to insist that she keep her promise.
Dictation: When we make a promise, we must honor our word and keep it.
Explore this story through various artistic renditions, including the following paintings by 1) Warwick Goble 2) Edmund Dulac 3) Anne Anderson 4) Margaret Evans Price. Discuss how each painting makes you feel and how the artists use colors and style to evoke certain emotions. Which picture is the most beautiful? Which picture is the most dramatic? Which picture is the sweetest?
Explore this tale through music. If you like Peter Gabriel, listen to “Kiss That Frog” together and discuss what his lyrics seem to elicit from the story. Or have your child compose his own song about the story and perform it at dinner.
Read this poem by Anna Denise and discuss how strange the frog must have felt when turning back into a prince. Talk about alternate endings to this story. Encourage your child to write a poem offering an alternate ending or telling the tale from the perspective of the frog.