This morning at breakfast, David asked to be excused. I was not sitting at the table at that time, so I asked him if his cereal was all gone (not, “Are you done?”). He said yes, but when he brought the bowl by me to put it on the counter, I saw there were quite a few Cheerios left.
Now, I do not believe David quite understands what lying is. If I were to try to get him to explain what “telling the truth” or “telling a lie” were, he wouldn’t be able to do it. He doesn’t display any guilt when he doesn’t tell the truth.
So, with this in mind, I want to help him know what telling the truth is. Just like we taught him about anger months ago by simply identifying his behavior as anger, I simply said, “David. You still have Cheerios in your bowl. You said they were all gone. They are not all gone. You did not tell Mommy the truth.” I didn’t discipline him, other than sending him back to the table to finish. I will probably repeat this conversation in other contexts a number of times before I am confident he knows that lying is a sin, and knows what lying is. Right now, I haven’t even established what truth is. This job will soon include sharing what God says about telling the truth. At the point I am confident of his understanding, I will discipline him for lying. But for now, I am simply defining it for him, as God defines it. The process has just begun.