Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Monday, December 13, 2010

Integrity

It's amazing how powerfully you can communicate virtues by providing kids with a personal example.  In our reading of "Strive and Succeed: Julius and The Store Boy" by Horatio Alger (engaging stories from the 1870s), we came across an example where the hero, Julius, is tempted to take a wallet of money he has found.  He considers what it would mean to his life and returns it to the owner.  The book states he acted with "integrity".  Naturally, my kiddo wants to know, "What is integrity?"

OK, so... why the candy bars?  The bottom of the Halloween candy bowl has almost been reached and these three have been my kiddo's favorites.  He didn't really understand the idea of a wallet with money and how that would relate to integrity.  He was clearly understanding the words of my explanation and of the story without really grasping the connection to reality i.e. similar to understanding a story's fairy magic.  It was not real to him, within his context of a seven-year-old's experiences.  I asked him to imagine coming downstairs, first thing in the morning.  On the table, he sees a candy bar unwrapped and next to it a Crunch wrapper.  Next to that, there's another unwrapped candy bar and it has a Milky Way wrapper alongside.  Finally, there's a third unwrapped bar with an identifying Snickers wrapper.  Behind this display is a sign that says, "These are for Daddy."  I asked, what do you do?  

This was a vivid experience for him.  He talked about doing the right thing, even though tempted.  He discussed what would happen as a result of each action and saw for himself how the moral is always the best longterm choice.  I just mirrored and observed and WOW, it was awesome!   He is so still a seven year old, boisterous, impulsive kid, but he's thinking more and more long-term and it's a glorious process to watch!

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