# 42 Building Character Truth
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The truth is like a lion. There is no need to defend it. Let it loose and it will defend itself.
Many character traits are developed from what students hear around them. I will give you an example from me a long time ago. I used to lie in bed awake at night worried about Santa Clause. I was afraid this strange person was coming into my house at night while I was sleeping. Also, we didn't have a fireplace, so how could he get in? And the houses that had fire places, what if their fire was lit? What would happen to Santa? And, while we were on the subject, how come Santa brought me wrapped toothpaste, soap, and shampoo? Where was the good stuff? Why did he wrap oranges? As I got older and realized our Santa was poor, along with the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. I made sure I would not ever lie to my kids. I never told them these figures were real, I simply never said a word. No, Grandma, my children wouldn't be waiting in line for Santa. Ever, However, I made an exception for dying Easter Eggs because I remember how fun that was. I don't remember any discussion about How the rabbits got the eggs.
As a teacher, decide what you are going to do about The Santa Clause Problem. This is when a student who does not celebrate Christmas announces to the class in the middle of Social Studies there is no such thing as Santa. Is this something you want to bring up at Open House? I have had students in fifth grade believe in Santa, although one told me secretly he was afraid to tell his parents Santa was not real for fear Santa's presents would disappear. I told my class they should believe whatever their parents tell them and we do not discuss Holidays in school.
I once went to a conference on Character. The speaker said modeling was key. Telling your child to say he was a younger age so you could get an extra discount at the movies wipes out everything you have ever told your child about truth, because you have just taught them it is acceptable practice to lie. Before you teach your child or student Truth, make sure they know the difference between the truth and a lie. For example, ask if you are wearing poka-dots. If you are not wearing them and you say you are, is that a lie? Yes.Talk about why that example was a lie and why it's important for other's to be able to count on and trust them,
I always told my own children they should not keep secrets from me. No adult should ever tell a child to keep a secret. Forget your surprise anything. If you don't tell the children in the first place, they are not responsible for keeping your lie. Don't start with the Surprises are fun stuff. Raise your children and students how you want, but don't try to convince me.