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Dishonesty, Politics and Its Effect on Children

At the dinner table last night our seven year old daughter Anna surprised us by saying, “I have to put on the belt of Truth when I am watching political ads on TV.” My daughter has already realized that she can’t trust the politicians and leaders of our country to tell the truth. This saddens me as a father and as a follower of Jesus.

My daughter watches the nightly news with me and is pretty informed about this election. She is observant enough to know that each side is blaming the other side for lies and half-truths. The reality of life is hitting her pretty early. Maybe it’s a pipe dream but I wish she could look up to her leaders as people she could trust and emulate. At this point, I would not want my daughter to grow up and emulate the dishonesty that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both modeling.

The discouraging part for me as a follower of Jesus is that both these men say their religious faiths inform their political views. Mormonism and Christianity uphold honesty and integrity. Yet integrity and truthfully saying what they believe is not something they or their campaigns are known for. Their lies and half-truths have created new fact checking roles for the media. The massive SuperPACs and 501(c)(4) nonprofits on the right and the left are making the whole situation even worse.

Will this ever change? Should we just come to expect that all politicians stretch the truth and lie even those that say that they follow the teachings of Jesus?

As a parent this is very discouraging for me. Especially when we are trying to raise our daughters to value honesty and integrity. But I guess Anna is right, we have to train our children at a young age to test everything they hear and discern what is Truth and what is a lie.