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Character Education - Honesty
by Elizabeth Hamilton, author

Character education honesty. When character education comes to the word honesty in a list of character traits, it can make dangerous assumptions. One assumption is that everyone knows what honesty means. Another assumption is that lies come in shades ranging from black through a myriad of grays to white. This would mean, by default, that honesty comes in similar shades. Such assumptions make the teaching of honesty much more difficult, and make it dishonest.

Character education honesty. Think about the three words in close relationship. Education is to teach, not assume. Teaching is to impart knowledge that has been mastered. This means it has been studied to an extent that no assumptions are made. In the realm of character education, the knowledge should be modeled as well as mastered.

   

Character education in honesty, then, will abstain from the assumptions given above. As it masters the subject, it will find that lies do not, after all, come in different shades. A lie is a lie, and should be called by its proper name, not by a nickname such as "white lie" or "half-truth." And if lies do not come in different shades, honesty does not come in different shades. One is honest or dishonest. So what we need is a definition of honesty. What is the meaning of honesty?

A brief, helpful way to define honesty is:

 

A refusal to try to deceive another person for even one moment.

Those who undertake character education in honesty must convey the idea that just as all of character demands both character in words and character in action, so is honesty. It includes a refusal to say other than truth and a refusal to do other than truth. We must not knowingly deceive - cause someone to believe something other than solid fact - for a moment in either our words or our actions.

Honesty on a test paper involves refusal to try to deceive the teacher into thinking an answer is yours when you took it from another student's paper. Honesty regarding incomplete homework involves refusal to try to deceive the teacher into believing there is any reason for the unfinished work other than the true reason.

Character education honesty must be truthful in what it teaches, and must not attempt to present anything other than black and white.
 

 

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