Modeling integrity at every level is critical to your parenting arsenal. As a Children’s Pastor, I found that the besetting sin of most children was lying. They will look you right in the eye and lie and not even blink an eye. In our post Christian culture, it has become acceptable and normal to pepper our conversations with “white lies,” stretched truthfulness, and outright bold faced lies.
Have you ever told your kids to tell someone you’re not there when they called you at an inconvenient time? You just taught your kids that it’s okay to lie if it keeps you from being inconvenienced.
How about those special family traditions like the man in the red suit? Dare we? Do your traditions include the jolly fat guy or the furry deliverer of eggs? I know for many these are almost sacred traditions. Would you be offended if I said these are not just harmless fairy tales? I have nothing personally against either Santa or the Easter Bunny, but I do have a concern when we teach them to our children as “truth.” The truth is, you’re telling them a lie. Have you ever looked at it from your child’s perspective? If you would deceive them about Santa and the Easter Bunny, in your child’s mind might you be deceiving them about a man who died 2,000 years ago to take away their sins?
As Christians, we are to rightly divide the word of truth. If our children can’t trust our word, who can they trust? I remember how devastated and betrayed I felt when I found out the Easter Bunny and Santa were mere myths. I was crushed. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be honest with them on the front end, spare them the heartbreak of finding out the truth, and retain your integrity in their sight?
We always had fun with our kids on these holidays without loss of our integrity. We hid eggs, we had gifts, we had it all . . . except the myth. Plus, we pointed them to Jesus in all things. Remember the real significance of these holidays, a holy God left his throne in heaven to take the punishment that we deserved, and offered us the gift of eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the honor of becoming the son or daughter of the King of Kings. What fairytale could possibly surpass that? Don’t settle for a shallow shadow when you can have the real thing.
The bottom line is as in all areas of parenting it all starts in the mirror. You model the standard you want your kids to hit and hopefully exceed. There may be areas where you need to ask your family’s forgiveness for your lack of truthfulness.