Parents and teachers teach children always to speak the truth
I agree that it is wrong to tutor children to tell truth. There is an English proverb that one example is far better than hundred precepts. Children are in general very intelligent. They have a great power of observation and their feelings are deep rooted. Only they cannot express it. They always observe their parents at home and their teachers in school.
The method of teaching morals to children is universal. The guardians think that it is their prime duty to do so. In fact our social set-up encourages this practice. If a child misbehaves or tells lies, people blame the parents for not teaching proper behaviour or telling truth. The teacher is blamed similarly.
Children take to lies for their personal gains. They are essentially clever and try to get what they want by foul means or fair. They will steal and say that they have not. To teach them that stealing or lying is bad will be lost labour. It is an unrealistic approach.
Moral lessons are generally hard to swallow for even grown-up persons, let alone children.
Hypocrisy is a kind of self-cheating and false behaviour. It a thief preaches against stealing or if a liar lectures on truth it is hypocrisy. Thus examples of honesty and truthfulness are more effective than precepts or moral preaching. Children are very sensitive. They fast copy their elders. Naturally a healthy and truthful environment is more helpful in training them. It is generally observed that the children that live in mean dwellings pick up the habit of lying and abusing in filthy languages. They lack manners. Even some children of cultured and refined families behave like this if they mix too much with dirty and bad children.
A child observes his elders to be truthful and honest. He shall imbibe some of their virtues, if not all. In schools the text books ought to be based on allegorical stories. Mere platform lecture by teachers on the value of truth and honesty would bear no fruit.
These days the government plans the texts of the children on these principles. In history, characters of great heroes, social reformers and prophets of truth are painted through colourful stories. These directly influence the personality of a child; they readily condemn the evil doers and the liars. They follow such allegories or parables as facts and believe them readily. Naturally, the values on which these stories are based strike root in their tender and sensitive minds. Like a tender seedling that grows if it finds good soil, the minds of children get a solid base.
Wordsworth believed that human civilization corrupts the soul of children. He was a very sensitive child of nature. In a famous poem he complained that it is a tragedy that whenever a child is born, his parents sit with a chart to chalk out his line of progress. It is indeed a suicidal method. Such rigid methods often destroy the soft and valuable asserts or virtues that lie hidden in a child. It is indeed a hypocritical process. To train a child through teaching moral lessons is not only unproductive, it is counter-productive. It may produce in him a disregard for such values as his mind is not willing to accept it at this stage.
The process of learning for a child is not magical. It calls for much caution and observation from his/her guardians.
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