Experience teaches us that those who are sincere in executing whatever small, seemingly insignificant tasks are entrusted with greater responsibilities. These are the individuals who are more likely to succeed and live fulfilling lives in the long run.
People in general feel comfortable dealing with sincere individuals. Employers seek to find sincere workers who maximize work-time and produce expected results; men and women seek to find sincere companions to share their lives with and to keep the spark of love burning for a lifetime; teachers feel more motivated and encouraged when students show sincerity in learning and participation in class; mothers untiringly nurture and care for their infants out of sincere love for them; and individuals constantly attempt to be sincere to their inner selves so that they do not experience cognitive dissonance that may lead to insanity.
It pays to be sincere
In other words, sincerity is found in every aspect of life and is constantly sought after from infancy until old age. Sincerity is the factor that keeps human relationships alive and afresh. It is the key to healthy development of trust, self-esteem and eventually, the sense and actual experience of achievement.
A sincere individual values himself, takes the tasks assigned seriously and seeks ways to execute his responsibilities with utmost diligence and perfection. It is when an individual chooses the path of insincerity that he often exhibits the characteristics that communicate the “I don’t care” attitude.
This attitude is the main reason for failure, at school, work or home. Any enterprise founded on human relationship only works when the people involved care for each other and their individual and collective responsibilities.
Considering the aforementioned line of reasoning, it is worth teaching sincerity more deliberately at home and school. Lessons on sincerity address the psychological well-being of students as well as increase their chances of success in the future. Developing sincere students would mean that the schools and home join hands to create likable individuals who would attract others and success into their lives.
Sincerity is defined as being real, inside and out. Since our actions and words reflect inner feelings, a healthy personality would require that the former is in-sync with the latter. In other words, what one does or say must be in harmony with how he feels. A sincere person always allows his inner feelings to be mirrored in his interactions with the outside world.
Children are naturally sincere. That’s why infants cry when they are hungry, wet or feel unsafe. This is also why a very young child does not know how to tell lies. However, as time passes children are taught out of sincerity by adults who demand more (untimely) mature behavior and administer punishment for improper behavior (improper according to adult standards).
As a result, children learn early in life that it pays to fake behaviors, feelings and experiences. They become so good at it that they fake sickness (usually labeled as psychosomatic illness) to avoid school, change grades in the report card to avoid parents’ wrath and fall prey to group pressures.
In my opinion, this is also the number one reason why teenagers face identity crisis. Years of denying critical truths about their inner selves and external experiences deprives them of the ability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.
How to teach it?
According to Dr. Helaine Sheias, executive director of Life Empowerment Action Program in San Francisco Bay area, “teaching sincerity means helping and guiding children to develop their innate ability to simply be real and be themselves in relationships with others and themselves.”
Regularly reinforcing, rewarding and celebrating sincerity in action (at home and school), narrating stories about sincere people, discussing their successes and modeling sincerity are examples of ways to teach this valuable quality to children. Displaying quotes such as, “It is those who are true to themselves and others who overcome the challenges of life” at strategic locations at home and school would also help.