Julie Kemp Pick
I don't know what bothers me more, catching someone in a lie, or having that person not take responsibility for it. People lie so easily that it becomes second nature to them, and kids pick up on it at an early age. I've always instilled in my children the importance of telling the truth, or at least I thought I did.
We all tell "little white lies" from time to time. I remember many years ago, if I had a bad cold when my grandmother called, I would tell her that I was fine. I didn't want to worry her, and have her check up on me several times a day. I know that my boys picked up on this, so I explained that it would only upset her, and a fib wasn't as bad as a lie.
This would come back to haunt me several years later, when my older son was hospitalized for the stomach flu his sophomore year of college. He was so dehydrated that he spent the night hooked up to an IV, and didn't bother to mention it until several days later. My younger son only called to tell me about the stitches in his forehead a few months ago, because there was a question about the insurance.
I remember how one of my friends used to lie to her parents by saying she was spending the night at my house, so she could be with her boyfriend. There was no Caller ID back then, so she would phone them from his place. By the same token, with cell phones people could be calling from anywhere. When my kids were in high school, if they called to tell me that they were staying overnight at a friend's house, I would tell them to hang up, and call me from their house phone. Once they went away to college, all the rules changed.
I was brought up to fear my parents, and with that fear came respect. Today, many parents want to be thought of as friends not disciplinarians. I'd be happy if we met somewhere in the middle with honesty and respect thrown into the mix. I want to be able to trust them completely, but with every slip up, that trust has to be earned all over again. Likewise, I'd like for them to be able to trust us enough to come to us with any problem.
White lies are like matches, they could be blown out quickly after one strike, or they could become a force of nature spreading as wildly as a forest fire. I've always told my sons that their word means everything. I have some idea what word they would use to describe me right now, but I won't ask, because that would be encouraging them to lie.