Honesty – #AtoZChallenge

Apr 13, 2021 | Creativity & Inspiration, Fiction

Ask my kids, “What’s the one thing that’ll make your mom really angry?” They’ll tell you: Dishonesty.

There are two exceptions to the rule: little white lies and the so-called “sin of omission.” I like to think of the latter in terms of discretion being “the better part of valor.” You don’t owe anyone answers to inappropriate questions, and you don’t need to inflict ruthless honesty on everyone when there’s nothing positive to be gained by it.

“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” Men recognize this as a trap. But what if she asks this at home, before a party? What if there’s a dress that flatters her figure more, and you see it hanging, clean, in the closet? How about, “No, but I like the burgundy one better – it brings out the color of your eyes”? Of course you wouldn’t say this once you’ve arrived at the party and there’s no alternative to the fat-dress. That’s where the little white lie is fine – just leave it at, “No, honey!” and add a little reassurance, “I think you look beautiful.”

Guys, wouldn’t you want to be told, discretely, if your fly was open? Or if you had toilet paper trailing from a shoe? Little white lies serve no one here. And the “sin of omission” is cruelty, when the flaw is so easily fixed.

Let kindness be your guide.

In my book, A New Leaf for Lyle, poor Lyle’s got a habit of lying over the most trivial things. Sometimes, it’s to stay out of trouble – so why does it seem like lying always gets him into more trouble? Sometimes, a fib just seems to sound better, and less silly, than the truth. But he’s picked up an unflattering nickname: “Lyle the Liar.” And now, even his mom and dad don’t believe him when he’s telling the truth! What’s a kid to do?

Lyle discovers that once you lose someone’s trust, it can be hard to build it back up again. But with enough love and effort, Lyle learns he can turn over a new leaf.

A New Leaf for Lyle is a full-color children’s picture book, available for Kindle or in Paperback.


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


  1. Bob Jasper

    Ah, so that’s what the “New Leaf” for Lyle is. Good job. Having been the victim of brutal honesty (you can read that hateful honesty), I can appreciate the need for little white lies. I could never lie to my mother. She’d make me look her in the eyes, and I can still see those penetrating eyes, they opened up my soul. I couldn’t hide anything from her, and if I lied, look out!

    BTW, CommentLuv gives me no choices this time. Guess it knows I haven’t posted anything recently.

    • Holly Jahangiri

      Oh, I was SO bad at lying, as a kid. Picture my parents laughing and introducing me to phrases like, “Due to your ineptitude, we feel this may not be the area in which you should focus your future endeavors” bad.

      I’ve never been hatefully honest, but my inability to lie with any credibility extends to “sugar-coating” the truth. Sometimes, there just ISN’T much positive feedback to be given on a thing, unless maybe it’s, “Bless your heart, you tried. Takes guts to put yourself out there like that.”

      I never found sugar-coating helpful, personally, because at some point, life smacks you with the reality stick, and you realize it was a lie – so then how do you ever trust feedback from that person again? But there really IS a difference between “brutal honesty” and “hateful honesty” – the latter serving only to treat down, hurt, and discourage. Never in my life have I wanted to do that to a living soul.

  2. Corinne Rodrigues

    Congratulations on the new book. A great topic for children.
    And I agree about the importance of honesty, and the right kind of words to say!

    • Holly Jahangiri

      Thanks, Corinne! But I’d be lying if I said it was “new.” I’d rather think of it a “timeless.”

  3. Jennifer Duggins

    I love this topic for a kid’s book. My own children were terrible liars, which made it great for this mom. However, I sometimes find the sin of omission just as bad, particularly if the person receiving the information actually knows the truth. I’d rather have brutal honesty than presumption that I’m daft. Great post.

    • Holly Jahangiri

      My mom was never one to trap a kid. I think it’s best (of you “actually know the truth”) to ask, “Why did you take that $5 from my purse?” and not “I could have SWORN I had $5 in my purse. What could have happened to it?” or even “Did you take $5 from my purse?” If the sun of omission is a bad ploy, so is laying that kind of trap – you know it’s more likely to lead to a lie than the truth. But “Why?” doesn’t beg for a lie (it’s also more honest from you). If the child lies, then, it’s on them. 😊

  4. Roberta Bortoleto

    I was lucky enough to be born in a family where honesty is one of the main values, and I carry that into my life and pass it on to my daughter. Great text, congratulations

  5. Gunilla (galeriaredelius)

    Honesty is so important, and it has so many facets. There’s a fine line between white lies or not telling the entire, detailed truth and being honest. Great post for H, as honesty is the basis for trust, which is the basis for really good relations. Kind honesty is an art for that takes practice!
    Gunilla (galeriaredelius) recently posted…Textile in jewelleryMy Profile

    • Holly Jahangiri

      I agree: Trust, respect, and kindness are the cornerstones of love. Not “in love,” but lasting love.

  6. J Lenni Dorner

    Is it kind and is it fixable– that’s what I hear is the thing to consider when having to answer a difficult question.

    It’s hard to believe the blogging challenge is almost over for 2021. Then the after survey, reflections, and the road trip sign-up.
    Plus, I’m taking part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in May. So much excitement!
    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author
    J Lenni Dorner recently posted…#atozchallenge Y is for Fey, Yoga, YouMy Profile

    • Holly Jahangiri

      Yes, it seems like the second half always goes by faster than the first! I think next year I’ll start with the last half of the alphabet.

      Looks like I’ll have to do another abecedarian poem if I’m to even halfway finish this year’s A to Z! (Is that cheating? It’s probably cheating. I would not do it if there were prizes involved!)

      For May, I’m planning to…relax. Take a little break. Seems like everything was happening in April and this coming weekend, and I need some recreation!

  7. Fabricio Policarpo

    really when we break someone’s trust, we can’t get it back easily. it is as in the case of the first impression it is the one that remains.

    • Holly Jahangiri

      This is very true. Always keep that in mind, Fabricio – always keep that in mind. 😉


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