A study by the University of California, San Diego found that when children were set the example of an adult telling a lie, in this case about the nature of the test scenario they would be participating in, they were more likely to tell a lie themselves during the rest of the game designed for the study.
186 children between ages three and seven participated in the study that featured a temptation resistance game in which children had to refrain from cheating. In this case, they had to refrain from peeking when left alone with a toy that made an unusual noise they had been asked to identify by sound only.
Those that were lied to at the beginning of the experiment were more likely to lie when asked if they had cheated, 90 per cent of the lied-to cheaters lied about peeking, while only 60 percent of the non-lied to cheaters lied about peeking at the toy. Researchers feel this is evidence that children will engage in lies when they know the adults around them do so also (Jonathan O’Callaghan, “Don’t Lie To Your Kids! Children Are More Likely to be Dishonest If They Discover Their Parents Don’t Tell the Truth,” The Daily Mail at DailyMail.co.uk, June 18, 2014).
The ninth of the 10 Commandments condemns bearing false witness against another person, or as we tend to put it now, lying (Exodus 20:16 Exodus 20:16You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
American King James Version×). Example is an important part of following Jesus Christ and obeying God’s way of life. We are to learn from the example of Christ and to strive to emulate Him as He perfectly kept the Law. Then we in turn are to be examples to others of how God’s way of life works as we live it daily, exemplifying its value, positive fruits, and inherent truth. If we aren’t truthful ourselves we can’t be an example of the truth, especially when we are observed by young children.