An Object Lesson in Honesty for Kids from www.overthebigmoon.com!

An Object Lesson for Kids on Honesty

honesty

The other day I was thinking about how I could help my kids understand honesty better. While they understand what it means to be honest I think as kids their little minds think that lying can actually change the truth. I came up with this idea for a Family Home Evening lesson to help illustrate how a lie doesn’t cover up the truth.

For the lesson you need:

Vanilla ice cream

chocolate syrup

salt

3 bowls

a big bowl of water

DSC_0681

To prepare in the morning I put a little water in one of my bowls and then I added a bunch of salt. I let it dry and also used a blow dryer on it to help the salt harden in the bottom. I added another layer when the first dried and did the same thing to make sure it was thick and hard.

DSC_0682

That evening I took my tray out at lesson time and the boys were so excited to see ice cream and chocolate syrup for our lesson! I dished a scoop of ice cream in a bowl and handed them each a spoon and asked them who liked ice cream.  They were so excited! I said that sometimes we make bad choices. What about putting salt on ice cream, would that be a good choice? They said no and I took about a teaspoon of salt and sprinkled it all over the top of the ice cream. I made a big deal out of it saying oops!

Then I said sometimes we are embarrassed about the choices we make so we try to cover them up with a lie. At this point I took the Hershey syrup and covered all the salt with the ice cream. I then asked them questions like, can you see the salt anymore? How does it smell now? How do you think it would taste? I took their  spoons and gave them each a spoonful of the ice cream and syrup. I made sure to take shallow bites so there would be lots of salt. I asked who wanted to try it and shockingly they all did. I really think they thought you wouldn’t be able to taste the salt. Be prepared to laugh at some funny faces!

I said that’s how lying is. We try to cover up what we did that was bad but it doesn’t really go away. The only way to get rid of the salt is to start over and go back and make our mistake right.

I took the second bowl and added a little salt to it. I told them that when we tell a lie we can go back and make it right. I had them take a paper towel and had them easily wipe the wet salt out of the bowl. Then I took the bowl with salt dried in it and said sometimes we have told a lie a long time ago and everyone has forgotten but we don’t. Sometimes the lies build up because we have to tell more lies to cover the first one we told. I talked about how the longer you let it go the harder it gets to tell the truth. I let them try to swipe the dried salt away with a paper towel but it wouldn’t come off.

I took the big bowl of water and talked about how we need the Savior to help us make it right through repentance. Then I took the bowl with the hard salt in it and put it in the big bowl of water and swished it a few times and the salt dissolved. We talked about taking the sacrament each Sunday and how that reminds us of our baptism and how each week we can be washed clean.

The boys were mesmerized during the whole lesson – no fighting or whining! Yea! After we were done we dished up ice cream with syrup and had that for our treat. They have referred back to it a few times so I know it made a difference for them. Yay! I love when a lesson actually gets through!

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Lisa

Previous author of Over the Big Moon. I shared my passion for home and family life! I love graphic design, DIY projects, cooking, and working in my garden! My favorite role is taking care of my husband and our 3 amazing and busy boys!

Comments (130)

  • Well, thank you for this ๐Ÿ™‚ My children are very young right now, but I am pinning on Pinterest for future reference. Finally, an easy to comprehend way to teach children about lying! I agree with the person who stated that sometimes its better to teach in advance & then refer back when they are in trouble.

  • I really, really loved this idea. Except about the repentance part. Thank you for the idea. I will brainstorm ideas for finishing up the lesson in a secular way! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I was thinking the same thing, Paige. This is a beautiful lesson and works perfectly for a religious family. However, we don’t all live the same lives. I’ll have to tweak it a little bit for my family. I want my kids to be truthful for the simple fact that it is right, not because of the threat of hellfire.

      • Christine Mattson Carlson

        I don’t see where she threatened her kids with hellfire or any such thing about telling them they are going to hell. That’s your impression.

        • Christine, repentance, hellfire, etc. are all part of the same book. Neither Paige nor myself said anything negative about religion or others’ religious practices. We merely stated that as non-religious individuals, this lesson is appreciated and with a little adjustment can be used for our families as well. That’s a good thing, whether you see it or not.

          • “All part of the same book” is a very ignorant statement, clearly made by someone who hasn’t sincerely read this referenced book.

            “I want my kids to be truthful for the simple fact that it is right, not because of the threat of hellfire” is OBVIOUSLY implying that ‘threat of hellfire’ is the motivating force behind mothers who include repentance when teaching the principle of honesty.
            As you ‘seem’ to agree, threats are a bad / less effective motivator and mothers who honestly understand repentance also understand this… that when trying to convince others we use persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.

            Therefore, “Neither Paige nor myself said anything negative about religion or others’ religious practices” is only a true statement if you’re excluding implications. Specifically your implication of the sub-par motivators behind the aforementioned mothers.

            Funny that such a remark would be made on an ‘honesty’ thread. ๐Ÿ™‚

            There’s obviously a lack of understanding here… It may be in honesty, repentance, or the “hellfire book” ๐Ÿ˜‰ but whatever the case, we should all get together to eat some salty ice-cream and figure it out ;D

          • Given that I have read the book and it is entirely accurate to say that repentance and hellfire are a part of said book, I have to say that “ignorant” is a seriously lacking way to describe my statement. I have implied nothing and cannot be held responsible for any inferences made on your end.

          • “I want my kids to be truthful for the simple fact that it is right, not because of the threat of hellfire.” is the reasoning behind your “tweaking” the lesson to exclude repentance, no? Therefore leaving repentance in there (or not tweaking the lesson) would result in teaching ones children to be truthful because of the threat of hellfire, no?

            Do you believe that because hellfire and repentance are both talked about in the same book, one cannot teach repentance without using the threat of hellfire as the motivator? If you do, then it’s easy to see why you feel your response is relevant. If you do not, that you understand your response is based on an assumption, therefore including more implications.

            Also is it more accurate to say you’ve “read the book” or “read from the book”?

            “I have implied nothing” is not a true statement. You can say you didn’t WANT to imply anything, but you can not honestly say that you implied nothing.

            Sincere honesty requires sincere self-evaluation, of ones actions words and even motives. Has that occurred, or are you still just saying whatever comes to mind?

          • “Do you believe that because hellfire and repentance are both talked about in the same book, one cannot teach repentance without using the threat of hellfire as the motivator?” I am not saying that it isn’t done, but then that would be cherry-picking the Bible which I’m quite sure is frowned upon in most cases.

          • I’m afraid many Christians are ignorant of the real teachings of the book they often try to shove down the throats of others. They assume someone with a degree from a bible college must be able to understand the Bible better than they can and so they take the pastors word for it and never study for themselves. The lie
            about eternal burning hell fire is quite possibly the most damaging to God’s character and
            has turned many away from following Christ because it just doesn’t make
            sense to follow or love someone because if you don’t “they’re gonna get
            you” and cook you for-eh-vur. That’s not love.

            Even CHRISTIANS need to study and understand this truth – many, many Christians perpetuate the lie from their pulpits.

            The Bible is clear – and I dare say MOST Christians are getting it wrong.

          • It is fine if you want to take the Christian connotations out of the lesson for your family. There is nothing wrong with that, God gave free will for a reason. As a Christian it is a win to me that you read through all of this and found it useful . Because no matter how you spin it you are still teaching you children a fundamental lesson from the bible. Even if they never knew it came from the Bible.

          • “Because no matter how you spin it you are still teaching you children a fundamental lesson from the bible. Even if they never knew it came from the Bible.”

            This is SO condescending. She specifically stated she does not want to teach her child Christianity. This is like someone telling you they are not Christian and do not want anything to do with Christianity and you responding with “I’m sorry, I’ll pray for you”

            or, if I were to reply about how “Don’t lie” was a virtue LONG before the bible and Christianity existed even though you already have shown you believe in Christianity and Christian believe there was nothing before their religion.

          • . post seems condescending to you because of a bitterness you hold towards Christians.

            If you don’t believe in Christ and that is your decision but instead of thinking as people as Christians are not Christians just think of them as people.

            is telling a lie bad yes. is telling the truth good yes so even though you don’t believe in Christianity you should be willing to accept that telling the truth and teaching your children to tell the truth is a good thing And should be praised.

            That is my thought process.

            if I tell you that I am sorry and I am praying for you and you are not Christian the correct way to respond to that would be to say, ” I’m not Christian but I appreciate It.”

            if Christianity teaches good morals and people that follow Christianity and abide by its teachings are good people then to you it shouldn’t matter if that person is a christian because that person is a good person and to you that’s all that should matter. Otherwise you’re defeating your own purpose.

            if everyone could learn not to label people as soon as they discover something about them it would be easier for us all to get along for Christians it would create opportunity for us to show our faith as it would for other faiths to show theirs.

            I was taught not to force my faith on anyone but to show my faith and try to influence another’s life. Even if you choose not to accept God, anything you picked up from me will still be something good and worthwhile. That is what Christians refer to as planting a seed.

            Am I going to tell this woman she’s a bad mother for not being christian no, because she is a good person. Am I going to tell you that you’re bad person for necroing a 5 month old post no. Because you very well could be a good person who is just viewing life in the wrong way.

            Have a good day Kit. May God bless you.

          • To begin with, I really don’t understand why people talk about repentance and guilt like such bad things, when someone does bad and doesn’t feel bad about it, that person is in some level a psychopath. That is because empathy and consequently repentance are natural responses that we have to allow us to live in social groups.
            However, I think you’ve been getting it all wrong, Christians do not stay away from sin because of fear (and that is a missconception than many NON christian people try to make others believe). It is because of love, you don’t lie because you love every person (yes, this is possible) and by lying you’re hurting that person and you don’t hurt someone you love. And that, my friend, is a much deeper motivation than doing it just because someone (YOU) say lying is wrong! I mean, sometimes lying is right, sometimes is wrong, but loving is always right. And this is exactly why Jesus said that to love God, your friends, family, enemies, strangers, everyone is the only idea by which you need to live by.
            Sorry, I had to say it even though this was a long ago ๐Ÿ˜€

      • MommyB: I understand why you and Paige decided to change the lesson to fit your family, and I think it’s awesome that you could both appreciate it even thought it didn’t perfectly fit your belief systems. You both stated your opinions respectfully, and since I’m a Christian with an opposite viewpoint, I hope I can do the same. I’d just like to clarify “repentance” a little bit. (Sorry if this gets a little long–it can be a pretty complex topic that takes a little bit of explaining.)

        In the Christian sense, the term “repentance” can be used one of two ways: 1) There is a general, one-time repentance that comes when you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and gave you a home forever in heaven. And 2) There is the continual act of repentance–or rather “repenting”–which simply means acknowledging when you’ve done something wrong, asking forgiveness when necessary, and doing what you can to make it right. With that as the definition, I think you’d agree that whether you’re a Christian or not, we’ve all had to repent at one time or another.

        I think the author meant repentance in both senses of the word, and not just repentance from hell.

        From your statement (please correct me if I’m wrong) it seems as though the way you view repentance in a Christian sense is as a way of slaving under a vengeful God, always trying to make Him happy, and doing things the right way to keep from going to hell. If so, I can easily see why it might look that way.

        We as Christians have gotten this wrong sometimes, and I’ll be the first to admit it. But if you look deeply at the God of the Bible and at who Jesus was/is, you’d see a very different, very merciful kind of God.

        I do honestly believe in a heaven and a hell, and I do believe that repenting from your sins through Jesus is what will keep you from going there. But once again, it’s the very same kind of repentance any parent teaches their child: 1) Acknowledge that you’ve done wrong. 2) Ask for forgiveness. 3) Do what you can to fix it and try your best not to do it again.

        The only difference is that you’re repenting to God–acknowledging that you’ve done wrong (in Christian terms, “sinned”), asking for His forgiveness through Jesus, and believing that He’s given you that forgiveness through the death of His son on the cross. And then of course 3) Do what you can to fix it, and try not to do it again.

        While repentance is a continual thing in all of our lives, (who doesn’t go a week without needing to tell someone sorry?), it’s a one-time deal when it comes to Jesus. Aka, the moment you believe He is the son of God, that He died to save you from your sins and keep you from going to hell, and ask to be forgiven, you are forgiven. There is no more working to make things right with Him. You are forever in right standing with Him and God because of His sacrifice on the cross. Yes, He desires us to do good and live the right way, but His love is the kind that cannot be revoked. There’s a verse in the Bible in Romans 5:8 that says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

        If you believe that Bible verse, it means that even when we were messing up, not believing in him, and headed for hell, He still loved us. And He showed that love in a real and practical way by sending His son to die for us so that we could be with Him in heaven. If you believe in what the Bible has to say (not me or anyone else), then hell is not so much a threat as it is a warning. John 3:16 in the Bible starts out by reminding us how much God loves us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” By “perish” this verse of course means hell, and “everlasting life” means an eternal heaven.

        Of course the question comes up: “Why would a loving God even allow a hell?” I would never presume to say I’m smart enough to completely answer that question, but I will say this: Unless you’re religious and believe in an all-good God, most people would say they don’t believe in an ultimate good. Who hasn’t lied once in their life? Or who hasn’t hurt someone with something they said, intentionally or unintentionally?

        But it’s a little harder not to believe in an ultimate evil when evil is in the news every day with gangs, random shootings, broken families, etc.

        So if you believe in an ultimate evil–or in the existence of evil at all–it would make sense to believe in not only a source from which the evil comes, but also an ultimate good.

        After all, how could something be called “evil” without first knowing the word “good”? And if none of us are perfectly good and have never done anything wrong, then where does this sense of “right” come from? And how can we align ourselves with that ultimate good rather than the ultimate evil?

        For me, Christianity has the answer to all those questions. God is the ultimate good and the source of good. The devil is the ultimate evil and the source of evil. If we’re not on God’s side, then we’re on his–whether we know it or not–and we all let him affect us to varying degrees.

        But if God is the ultimate source of good (meaning He is both merciful and just), how can He tolerate evil or wrong? We all teach intolerance to some degree. For example, murder is wrong. Pure and simple. It cannot be tolerated. There must be consequences for wrong actions–that’s justice, and it’s good.

        If God is any kind of good at all, then He cannot tolerate any kind of evil. Which is why hell exists. That’s justice.

        We are not all murderers, but we are not all good, either. Since God is all-good and sinless (or holy) then any kind of wrong (such as “little” things such as lying) goes against His nature. Romans again says, “We have all fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23.) Meaning: if He’s perfectly good, we can never measure up to His standards.

        If God had left it there, that would be one thing. But He didn’t. Instead, the second half of His good nature appeared: mercy.

        Knowing we could never meet His standards, God sent Jesus (who was holy and sinless) to make us right with Him again. We had a debt to God we could never pay–being perfectly good and sinless, as He is. But since Jesus was sinless, He paid the debt for us, and it cost Him His life.

        It was a love we didn’t deserve and could never earn. But it’s a gift, and one of the most beautiful that’s ever been given. The Bible says He died because He loved us and wanted to make a way for us to keep from going to hell. It’s a real place, just as prison is a real place. But it’s so much worse. It’s a warning that should be taken seriously. But at the same time, God’s love should be taken just as seriously.

        We would not call an investigator bad for throwing a murderer into prison. We would call that justice. And then let’s say that very same murderer genuinely repented and wanted to become a good man, but he’s been given the death sentence and has no chance of it being repealed. What if then the very same investigator offered to take his place and gave him a chance at a new life? What would we call that? I think we’d call it mercy. An astonishing, amazing, and undeserved gift.

        So it is with God. In justice, He rightly throws us into prison for wrongs we have done. In love and mercy, He offers us the way out through literally taking our place. Plus, it gets even better–He then wants to have a relationship with us, too! But that’s for another incredibly long comment. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I hope this could be a helpful addition to the discussion, and if anyone would like to look into that more, I’d definitely recommend reading either Romans or one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Bible. Although not always, many people have some stereotypes about Christianity that they could easily see aren’t true if they’d go to the Bible first to check it.

        I’d definitely recommend that for anyone who has an argument against Christianity or has questions. Go to the Bible first to see what we believe, then ask a pastor (who have made it their jobs to study the Bible) if there’s some parts you need clarification on or have more questions about. Not every Christian knows their Bible like they should, and once again, I’d be the first to admit it! Which is why it’s a good idea to read it for yourself and go to a pastor who had to go to a Bible college to become one. “The Case for Christ” is also a great book that addresses Christianity with an unbiased view.

        But anyway! Twelve hours later, haha. Thanks for being open Paige and MommyB, and for starting a good discussion! (Even though I don’t think you really meant to, haha.)

        -Lizzie

        • Well said!!! You are amazing at explaining what some people misunderstand. Threat of hellfire is definitely not what the author implied, I believe,rather forgiveness and love.. Though that comment can feel offensive, I feel we can forgive it as lack of knowledge (albeit your explanation has probably opened many eyes!!) and move on. But a marvelous discussion has ensued. Thank you!

        • The LIAR has done whatever he can do discredit God’s character. The lie about eternal burning hell fire is quite possibly the most damaging and has turned many away from following Christ because it just doesn’t make sense to follow or love someone because if you don’t “they’re gonna get you”.

          Even CHRISTIANS need to study and understand this truth – many, many Christians perpetuate the lie from their pulpits.

          The Bible is clear – and I dare say MOST Christians are getting it wrong.

          http://www.helltruth.com/
          http://www.helltruth.com/free-resources/free-video-library/id/1677/a-tale-about-hell

    • Lisa posted what SHE did with her kids. Take it or leave it. She doesn’t need comments that make it sound like she’s in the wrong for teaching religious principles.

        • Aminarra, you must have missed the second sentence and its context in relation to the first. That’s okay though, I’m still learning to read myself.

          • No worries! Reading comprehension is a hard skill to master, especially if you already think you know it all. Keep trying, buddy ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Paige, regardless of repenting to our Heavenly Father (of which believers in Christ expect of themselves and their children), repentance is important. Your children may not repent to a Heavenly Father but they certainly should be repenting to you as his/her parent as well as to the one they wronged (when deemed appropriate). Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs.[1] It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life.Within a secular context repentance may form part of the process of psychological healing.

  • I think this is a great and creative way to teach an important lesson. “doing” makes the learning stick better. Better to have them eat salt on ice cream then lie to people and think it’s ok…. (IMO)

  • What a great idea. I have a little boy that we have been trying to teach why he should not tell untruths. This will be a great object lesson for him and a reminder to the rest of us.

  • What a great idea. I have a little boy that we have been trying to teach why he should not tell untruths. This will be a great object lesson for him and a reminder to the rest of us.

  • I love this idea. My daughters are 5 and 2, though they haven’t done anything terrible I still want them to know what lying is, how it can affect them, and what our expectations are about lying in our family. I love how you made it a very creative lesson that the kids will remember. I believe that if we teach them while they are young it will be easier to enforce what we have taught when they get older. If I talk with them about it now, then when they do lie, hopefully I have will have taught them well enough that they will know they can be forgiven and that a bad choice can be made right.

  • That’s a way for anyone to understand about lies and honesty. I caught my children in lies–nothing to big or bad– wished I had thought about doing something like this. Sometimes showing while explaining is the best way to teach.

  • You are a loving and thoughtful mother to take the time and patience to help them understand such an important concept. I will be doing this with my daughters. I think they will benefit greatly and I know that they will LOVE having delicious ice cream with mom after the lesson. Thank you for sharing.

  • Apple, if you actually comprehended what you read you would have noticed that she asked them first if they wanted to try it, which they all did.

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