By Michelle Cox

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Every child, and adult for that matter, experiments with the truth. We lie. Learning to be honest most of the time is a lifelong journey that starts at a young age. Laura Rankin’s “Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie” is a family favorite that can be used to start a discussion on getting caught in unexpected lies.

Little Ruthie loves to collect tiny things. She finds a teeny tiny camera on the playground and feels ecstatic about her newfound treasure. When Martin sees Ruthie’s new camera, he tells her to give him his birthday present back. Horrified at the thought of losing her beloved camera, Ruthie lies and says she had been given the camera as a birthday present.

As the story unfolds, we watch Ruthie go about the rest of her day. She feels sad, struggles to concentrate, has a pit in her stomach, and can’t even eat her favorite dinner. Finally, she breaks down into sobs and tells Mom and Dad about her terrible day.

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it addresses Ruthie’s fears about telling the truth.
What will people think?
What if I get in trouble?
What if nobody wants to be my friend?
Despite her fears, we get to watch Ruthie walk the difficult path of making things right.

This validating story paves the way for a safe conversation about how easy it is to lie, but how important it is that we try to be honest.

After reading about Ruthie’s experience, consider the following questions to spark a family discussion.

  • Why did Ruthie say the camera was hers?
  • Have you ever found something and wanted to keep it?
  • When Ruthie found the camera, what choices did she have?
  • Can you think of a time you told a lie? How did it feel in your body?
  • How about a time you chose to tell the truth? Did it feel the same as when you told a lie?

Don’t forget to join in on the fun by answering briefly and sharing your own stories in response to the above questions.

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