Character Does Not Co_unt Without U: MARCH 2023

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023


By Barbara Gruener

Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner .

When teaching the value of trustworthiness, consider starting with Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Most children have heard of this story, so start by asking one of them to retell it. Here’s a brief synopsis: For his own entertainment, a young shepherd boy screams that a wolf is attacking his flock of sheep. The people in the village are very alarmed and come running to his aid. But they find that there is no wolf, and the sheep are not in danger. After the shepherd boy pulls this stunt several times, the villagers realize that he is lying. One day, a wolf actually does attack the sheep. But this time when the boy cries out for help, the villagers recall that he is not trustworthy, and they ignore him.

Following a reading or telling of the story, discuss the importance of telling the truth in building trust. Discussion Dilemmas can be very effective for helping children wrestle with character choices. When talking about trustworthiness, try these questions:

  1. Is cheating the same thing as lying? If not, which is worse?
  2. How common do you think cheating is? Why do people cheat?
  3. If a cashier gives you too much change and you knowingly keep it, is that stealing?
  4. How does cheating, lying, or stealing affect trust? How do they affect friendships?
  5. What should be the consequences of cheating? Of stealing? Of lying?
  6. What might happen if a news reporter exaggerates or makes up details of a story? Is that lying?
  7. Is there ever a time when it’s okay to cheat or steal? If so, give an example.
  8. What might you do if you catch a friend cheating or stealing?
  9. Is it ever okay to tell a “little white lie” (for example, to spare someone’s feelings)? Why or why not?
  10. Why is it important to keep your promises?
  11. What happens when a friend doesn’t keep his or her promise to you?
  12. How important is it that someone keeps your secrets?
  13. What type of secret wouldn’t or couldn’t you keep