How many of you have ever had a secret? Do you like secrets? Some people like secrets because then they know something other people don’t know. Do you like it when people whisper to each other in front of you?
What does it mean to keep a secret? To keep a secret is not to tell anybody what you know, even if they ask you to tell them. What’s the difference between a secret and a surprise? Are they the same? Not exactly.
Secretscan make a child feel sad, unhappy, and scared. You might be told never to tell and sometimes the person telling you the secret will give you something if you don’t tell, or say they will hurt you if you do tell. They can make you feel nervous or worried. Secrets are something that we don’t tell anyone and if you do tell someone they will get angry and upset. A secret is something that is kept just between two people, or a small group of people. A secret can make you feel ashamed or afraid. They are about things that bother you. Most importantly, a secret involves deception or a lie. Secrets often break safety rules. Keeping a secret is a burden. It makes you feel uncomfortable and it’s not healthy.
Surprises make a child feel warm, excited, and happy. The child is encouraged to tell surprises when the time is right. You don’t have to be quiet about the surprise for very long. A surprise is something that will be shared in the near future; perhaps it is a gift or a surprise party. A surprise is something which will end up as a happy bit of information to somebody else. A surprise often involves a larger group or the whole family. A surprise brings happiness and good feelings. It’s safe and comfortable. A surprise will bless someone else, not hurt them.
How is “private” information different from a secret or a surprise? What does it mean if someone tells you something that is “private” information and not to tell anyone? Information that is private is only shared with a trusted friend, and is not meant to be shared with others. When someone tells us something in confidence, something private, it’s because he or she trusts us enough to listen and not tell others. When we tell, trust is lost. Children need to respect another’s privacy, use good judgment, and act accordingly.
What’s the difference between tattling and telling? It’s very important for us as the adults to discern when a child is telling and when they are tattling. We need to listen to our children; hear them out.
It’s extremely important for children to know the difference between telling an adult that they have a problem that they can’t handle, and tattling on someone else in order to get the person in trouble.
Tattling is used to get attention or to bring negative attention to someone else. Young people tattle, not as a way to ask for assistance or support, but as a way to get back at someone else or to avoid getting in trouble themselves. Young people need to feel confident that they can count on adults for support and help in solving their problems, and that’s what telling is all about. Children should be encouraged to tell adults whenever they feel they are in over their heads or don’t feel confident to handle a problem on their own. Adults need to listen and discern what the problem is so that they can help the child.
Children need to understand that Jesus knows the thoughts and intents of the heart (Matthew 9:4), the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21). There are many scripture verses that instruct us to be wise in the use of words. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). “The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction” (Proverbs 16:21). Let’s encourage our children to use their words to bless others and to bless God.
Written and Compiled by Mrs. Carten, 5th grade teacher