Feeling inferior against the abilities of his friends, Franklin boasts that he can eat 76 flies in the blink of an eye. Of course he cannot, and is now more embarrassed than when he just felt inferior. Though is friends are politely silent about his dishonesty, he knows he must correct the situation, if only for his self respect. He proceeds to show them something he truly can do.
Franklin’s biggest error is needing to impress others in order to be proud of himself. He seeks to compete with his friends’ abilities, rather than admire them while happily pursuing his own talents. However, the merit of this story lies in his sense of integrity (ensuring his ideas and speech match his actions) and the strength of character he shows in correcting his foolish mistake. Indeed, the solution to the story softens Franklin’s error of seeking the false esteem through showing off. He admits his lie, and demonstrates what he is able to do.
Thus Franklin Fibs brings together two morals: don’t lie to impress others, instead, focus on your true abilities. Parents could use these as talking points, especially if they have some real life example their child may recognize.
The more fundamental error may be difficult for many children to grasp, but parents may be inclined to find gentle ways to point it out: A real Man knows that it is dishonest to deceive others to obtain their undeserved respect. He understands, furthermore, that a man cannot have self-esteem knowing he is dishonest!
This story is worth having in your child’s collection, and is one to revisit as his or her understanding matures.