No One’s Looking
What is integrity? (Doing the right and honest thing even when no one is looking.)
Discuss the following situations and ask, “What is the right thing to do?”
– Your mom made some cookies for dessert, but told you not to eat any before dinner. You are hungry. What is the right thing to do?
– Your dad gave you a chore to do and then left to finish another job. What is the right thing to do?
– You are mad at your sister, so you tell your parents that she hit you. What is the right thing to do?
– The teacher left the room, but left everyone an assignment to complete. What is the right thing to do?
– Your mom said, “NO playing electronics in bed!” What is the right thing to do?
Discuss other situations where your kids might be tempted to do the wrong thing.
We are tempted to do the wrong or easy thing when no one is looking. God wants us to do the RIGHT thing…even when no one is looking.
Always, Always Tell the Truth
Read and then act out the story of the little boy who cried wolf (one of Aesop’s Fables). If you are unfamiliar with the story, Google it. (There are visualized versions available also.). Assign everyone a part, whether it is the village people or the big bad wolf. Simply read aloud the story and have the assigned characters act out what is being read.
After acting it out, discuss the value of integrity. Why is it important to tell the truth? (Others will trust you; you will have a good reputation; etc.) We are all tempted to lie, but it is always better (even if gets us in trouble) to tell the truth. We will become known as an honest person and others will trust us.
Tell this true story about Abe Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was one of America’s most beloved presidents. Before he became president, he worked as a store clerk. One day, a woman came into the store and purchased several items which added up to two dollars and six and a quarter cents, or so the clerk thought they did. (We don’t know about quarter cents, but this was a coin borrowed from the Spanish currency and was well known earlier in our history.)
The woman paid her bill and left satisfied, but the young storekeeper was not completely sure about the accuracy of the bill, so he added up the items once more. To his dismay, he found that the sum total should have been but two dollars.
“I’ve made her pay six and a quarter cents too much,” said Abe disturbed.
It was only a small amount and many clerks would have dismissed it as such, but not Abe Lincoln. “The money must be paid back,” he decided.
This would have been easy enough if the woman had lived just around the corner, but she lived between two and three miles from the store. This, however, did not change anything. That night, Abe closed the store and walked to the home of the customer. When he arrived there, he explained the matter and gave the six and a quarter cents to the woman. He felt satisfied as he left.
Abe Lincoln said, “I have tried to do my best each and every single day.”
(from The Book of Virtues, edited by William J. Bennett; page 620)
How did Mr. Lincoln show integrity? (He returned the money.)
Why do you think Mr. Lincoln wanted to return the money? (Because it was the right thing to do.)
What are some excuses he could have made? (It’s just a small amount of money; no one will ever know; it’s too much trouble; etc.)
Why is it important for us to have integrity? (We will please God; we will be happy with ourselves; others will trust us; etc.)