Teaching youth to be trustworthy - Character Series Part 1

Trustworthiness is one of six "pillars" of character taught in CHARACTER COUNTS! which is used in 4-H character education programs.

Trustworthiness is made up of four major qualities: integrity, honesty, reliability and loyalty. Integrity means moral wholeness as demonstrated by a consistency of thoughts, words and deeds. (Often, this is described as “walking the talk.”) The honesty aspect of trustworthiness involves both what we say (our words) and what we do (our conduct). Honest people always try to convey the truth. Reliability means keeping promises and following through on commitments. The last quality is loyalty – standing up with and for someone in need. When you are loyal to someone or something, you’re constant and dependable.

So how do we teach kids about trust? One way is by being a positive role model. Don’t lie when talking with kids or other adults, and follow through when promises are made. Another way, teach kids that lies hurt and affect other people. Kids need to understand that cheating and stealing are major acts of untrustworthiness.  Kids need to know that it feels good to be trusted and awful to be distrusted.

Trustworthy people keep their word, honor their commitments, pay their debts and return what they borrow. Let’s help our kids know the importance of trust in life in all that they do.  

Trustworthiness is the first pillar in the Six Pillars of Character®, from the framework called CHARACTER COUNTS! created by the Josephson Institute of Ethics. These pillars of character are great tools when talking with youth and adults about character and doing what is right and wrong. The Six Pillars of Character ® include: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

The next pillar we will explore together is Respect.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development Programs help youth develop character through their 4-H projects and experiences.   4-H provides opportunities for youth to strengthen their character through, exhibiting projects, leading groups, participating in events, and so much more.

To learn more about how to bring character education into your community, read these articles:

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