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Second Thoughts

This article first appeared in issue 30, and was written by Laura Emberton Owens.

Mouse traps and honesty

I believe that teaching children to be honest is one of the keys to successful character development. My husband and I have tried to stress that under all circumstances honesty should prevail. Boy do I hate it when I have to question my philosophy. When my son was in the fifth grade he suffered what he thought was a tragedy; his hamster, Fluffy, escaped.

To a ten year old this probably was a tragedy. We tried to console him, assuring him that Fluffy had probably gotten outside and was very happy. Of course, we too were a little apprehensive as to Fluffy's whereabouts. Days passed and no Fluffy. Still, my son had faith that his hamster would return. Each day he would ask, Did you see Fluffy today?" and each day I would honestly respond, "No."

Then it happened, I saw Fluffy. Fluffy had been caught in a mouse tarp that had done its job successfully.

That afternoon when my son arrived home from school I kept awaiting his daily question; however, he never asked, so I never told. Is withholding information the same thing as not telling the truth?

Well, it has taken five years following Fluffy's demise to decide that it is. By not telling of Fluffy's fate I had taken the easy way out for both my son and me. The easy way wasn't the right way. Honesty is the best policy, even if it does hurt. I also learned another lesson from our experience with Fluffy. The next time we have a little rodent escape there will be no more mouse traps in the house.

This story was posted on 2000-06-15 12:01:01
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