We are picking from where we left in our last blog post, where we were trying to figure out how to cultivate honesty in kids. In our last blog post, we paid greater attention to the aspect of home training: that is, on what parents can do to ensure that their kids grow up into honest individuals. In today’s blog post, we will change perspective, and focus on the incorporation of honesty training as a topic in the school curriculum.
In my view, there are three key things that need to be done, when incorporating honesty training as a topic in the school curriculum.
Firstly, the focus should be on getting the kids to view honesty as a behavioral trait they are expected to be exhibiting. If this is not done, there is the risk of the kids ending up viewing honesty as an abstract ‘concept’ they are meant to understand. This is actually the predicament many of us are in: where we are conversant with honesty as a concept, but where we don’t practice it. You can get to see this phenomenon at play on, say, the Sunbiz website – where people go for, among other services, Sunbiz fictitious name filing. On the said website, (which is actually accessible at www.sunbiz.org) cases probably abound of people trying to register companies in order to carry out dishonest schemes. These are people who understand honesty as a concept, but they are unable to apply it in their lives.
Secondly, the honesty training needs to be simplified, to ensure that even the kids who are not academically gifted get to understand what is being taught.
Thirdly, the honesty training needs to be based on real-life examples: of scenarios where being honest can be advantageous, and scenarios where lacking honesty can cause major problems. This way, the kids get to understand the real meaning of honesty.
It is worth noting that honesty training already exists in many school curriculums. But the unfortunate thing is that honesty is normally taught as an examinable concept: not as a behavior that is meant to be adopted. We have to move beyond this. Just as we teach kids hygiene with the aim of having them start practicing it in their day to day lives, so should we make an effort to teach kids honesty with the aim of having them start practicing it in their day to day lives.