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Character Counts » The Pillar of Trustworthiness

The Pillar of Trustworthiness

The Character Counts Coalition uses the color blue to symbolize the pillar of Trustworthiness. 

During the month of March, students are learning the meaning and importance of trustworthiness. Together we can help "our" children to develop the tools and strategies they need to make the right choices. They will be learning that it is not always easy to make the "right" choice, but that the moral compass they are developing in their hearts will guide them to do what is right, even if it is the harder of the choices. The rational that "everyone is doing it" is too widely used today. Children need to learn that what is right is right even if no one else is doing it and what is wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.

Students will be learning that trustworthiness is essential to building positive relationships with others. A trustworthy person is honest, reliable, loyal and has integrity. The color blue is used to symbolize the pillar of trustworthiness, helping to remind students to be a "true blue friend" in all situations. These key ideas are outlined more thoroughly below.

Key Ideas

  • Integrity: Living with integrity means having the courage to do what is right, to speak out about what you think is wrong, and to try new things even when they are difficult or you might fail. Integrity often takes the willingness to do what is right, even if it is costly or risky.
  • Honesty: Honesty is being truthful and sincere in your actions and words, and accomplishing goals fairly, without cheating or stealing.
  • Reliability: Reliability means keeping your promises, honoring your word and commitments, doing what you say you will do, returning what you borrow, being on time and being dependable.
  • Loyalty: Loyalty means protecting and supporting your family, friends, school and country.

Signs of Trustworthiness

You will know that your child is using their character compass and integrating the concepts of trustworthiness into their behavior if they…

  • tell the truth, knowing that a consequence might result
  • are willing to try again even if they did not do as well as they would like the first time
  • return things that they borrow and in the proper condition as they received them
  • keep their promises and don’t tell secrets
  • are following through on their chores and responsibilities
  • are loyal to their friends, family, teams, etc.

When you see these behaviors, make sure to praise and encourage them. It will continue if they know it is being noticed and they will feel even better about themselves for doing the right thing.


For You To Consider

Is there harm in a little "white lie"? Here's one way to decide. If the person who was lied to found out about the lie, would they thank you for caring or feel betrayed and lose trust in you? If they would thank you, then it is probably OK to tell the lie.



"A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth." - Aesop

“One falsehood spoils a thousand truths." - Proverb


How To Teach Your Child Honesty

  • give lots of praise for being honest
  • give clear guidance on right and wrong
  • never label them as a "liar" or "cheater"
  • explore the reasons behind the behavior
  • stay calm, be firm and fair
  • always tell the truth yourself, you teach by how you live

If you find out that your child has not been honest in some way, confront them. There is no need to wait for the confession. Try to get across to them that what they did was wrong and somehow needs to be corrected. Do this without lecturing or humiliating; everyone will make mistakes along the way. Sometimes the lesson is learned more deeply if the mistake has been made. Make sure that there is a consequence that is both firm and fair. If possible have them make amends if the situation fits. Always affirm and praise their honesty. This will reinforce the importance of honesty more effectively as opposed to punishing dishonesty.


Modeling and Developing Trustworthiness at Home

  • Show reliability by promptly returning things that you borrow and arriving at appointments on time.
  • When paying the bills, explain that you are making good on your promise to pay.
  • Don't ask your child to lie for you, even small lies (like telling someone on the phone that you aren't home) can send the wrong message.
  • Keep your promises and explain how it feels when someone doesn't keep theirs. Explain that forgetting isn't an excuse; trustworthy people find a way to remember
  • Show loyalty by keeping in contact with your friends and relatives, both near and far, encourage your child to do the same.
  • Talk about times in your life when it is/was hard to be honest, keep promises, and do the right thing.
  • Admit your own mistakes and shortcomings, they will be more likely to do the same when they know you make mistakes too

We get what we give. When we give unconditional love, room to grow and learn, when we gently weed out negative behavior and choices, we get honesty in our homes and are raising responsible children who are developing a deep sense of integrity. Ghandi once said, "We have to be the world we want our children to see."


Prepared for you by Kimberly Pappas, School Counselor. Please call 310-798-8623 or email [email protected] if I can be of any assistance to you.