The fabric of our society is held together by the trust we have in each other. Each of us moves through the day expressing confidence in others and demonstrating our own trustworthiness. For example, when we drive a car, eat at a restaurant, and leave our children with a babysitter, we place trust in others. Our child rearing typically places a great deal of emphasis on this dependability. We want our children to recognize the importance of giving their word to others. In their relationships with children, elders can nurture this sense of responsibility.
- Prepare your Special Letter:
Describe what a lie and dishonesty mean. Describe a time in your childhood when you lied. How did you feel about lying? Did you get caught? Describe a situation when someone lied to you. How did this make you feel? Do you trust that person today? Anything you think is important!
- For your grandchild's scrapbook:
Draw the outline of several balloons on a piece of paper. Inside each balloon write a truthful statement, such as I really like you or I am your Grandma. In a brief explanation, stress that telling a lie to someone is like popping a balloon--one moment we think we have something, but the next moment it is no longer there.
- In your journal (After completing letter 6)
Describe some of your strong beliefs about honesty and commitment. Do we always have to be completely honest? Can honesty ever be cruel? (After receiving your grandchild's special letter): What kinds of principles do you hope your grandchild will acquire regarding these issues as he or she grows older?
- Optional Activities (Choose as many as you want to do):
- Balloon Person. Write your grandchild's name on a balloon with a felt tipped marker and draw his or her picture on it. Attach the balloon to a piece of paper with tape. Write a short note asking your grandchild to watch the picture change as the balloon is blown up. Also make a list of ways you keep the special commitments you have to your friends.
- Tall Tales. This activity may work better if an audio-cassette recorder is used. Playing this game is a humorous way to encourage your grandchild to reflect on the truthfulness of what he or she says. Emphasize that although tall tales can be fun to make up, they can hurt if the stories mislead others. Tell your grandchild that you are going to say something that is true or false and he or she will have to guess which it is. Be outrageous in your descriptions, making up an elaborate story. Ask your grandchild to guess which stories are true and false and then reveal the correct answers at the end.
- Mail what you have created directly to your grandchild. Ask your grandchild to respond with letter 6 on his or her instruction sheet.