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.
I had a rather unpleasant experience with my boss a few months back. He lied. To my face. I knew it and I called him on it without accusing him. He lied to get around the first lie. From that moment, he lost my trust forever. Lies are damaging. There is a fine line though.ReplyDelete
If anyone is going to lie about their whereabouts, it's now easy to do with cell phones.ReplyDelete
When we find that a person has lied to us, it feels like such a betrayal and it's difficult to accept that person as a friend.
@The Thumber - It's especially horrible when you know someone is lying to you and you still have to see them on a daily basis. Sounds like you've found a way to work around the situation, though it's sad it has come to that.ReplyDelete
@Manzanita - That's a negative with cell phones, and lying does make you question your friendship in the first place.
Thanks T and M for bringing up such valid points! Julie
Wow! I agree. When my kids were growing up, they could accidentally break a lamp, or have some other childhood catastrophe with little consequence. But lie and WATCH OUT!ReplyDelete
Sometimes you tell a little white lie to save someone else's feelings and that's fine although I'm afraid I do remember telling Mum and Dad that I was staying the night with my friend when I was really queuing up all night for tickets to see The Beatles. I think maybe I forgive myself for that one.ReplyDelete
@JJ - You are so right! Friends may come and go, but you always have to be able to trust your family. Thanks JJ!ReplyDelete
@Rosalind - It was worth it to see The Beatles! Of course you are forgiven, just don't tell my kids! Thanks Rosalind!
When you catch someone lying and they continue to lie, it's the worst.ReplyDelete
Thanks Mary - Therein lies the problem when instead of owning up to it, they just continue to let it escalate out of control.ReplyDelete
I agree. I can't stand being lied to. That's one reason why I switched a job, I couldn't deal with the boss's dishonesty.ReplyDelete
As for kids, my son confessed long forgotten transgressions when he went away to college. I don't get why these spineless parents won't be parents either.
I've had some very nasty experiences with people lying. It's so unpleasant, isn't it?ReplyDelete
Julie~Funny last line~ :) It's interesting you write about integrity as I watch it crumble around me~I as well feel there is nothing more important than your 'good word.' I have tried to ingrain this concept to my two boys and my big EX for 27 years it seems with quite a bit of resistance~Integrity is one to ponder as it seems such a struggle~ If only they were to understand that integrity just makes life work and is much less complicated than a lie~"oh the webs"~ha~ Julie~I luv it!ReplyDelete
@Joyce - I love how your son confessed! That's such a good sign that he'll be more open in the future!ReplyDelete
@Talli - It is very unpleasant indeed!
@Laura - We just have to do the best we can. You are so right that lying is much more complicated, but often times people don't look at the big picture and just want an easy fix.
Thanks J,T, and L for your insightful comments!
I think we teach our kids to lie in order to spare our feelings. Not on purpose, of course. But it does happen.ReplyDelete
Hi Julie .. one lie leads to another and we can't get out of the rut - I hate it especially when you know it's not right. By never lying we can't be caught out - also it'll probably resolve a few issues first.ReplyDelete
Haven't we all done it though .. especially as kids .. then we learn .. and we learn to be more upfront about everything ..
Love your last paragraph too - rings true .. Hilary
@Angela - They do see it by our actions. The problem is when they get so used to telling us what we want to hear, that they can't stop. Thanks Angela!ReplyDelete
@Hilary - I agree it does spin into a rut! In the long run, telling the truth does take less effort. There is the question about being brutally honest though, and it does help having built-in filters. Thanks for the kind words Hilary!
Julie - although I don't have any children of my own, and haven't spent time in "person" with you in a long time - I have a strong feeling you are an amazing mom. And right in the middle!!! Sue:-)ReplyDelete
I guess I am of the opinion that some lies just can't be helped because the simple truth would be hurtful - Do I look fat? Yes! Of course an arguement could be made that some questions shouldn't be asked.ReplyDelete
I agree that the truth is best - but some judgement needs to be exercised and tactful answers given. Some can't do that.
it is a hard topic with lots of grays.
@Sue - Thanks my friend, I do try, but I've managed to make plenty of mistakes!ReplyDelete
@Elaine - The fat question is a very delicate one! You put it very well, as there is so much gray! Thank you!
Another great post Julie. Really good point about those little fibs coming back to haunt us. I too hate being lied to, and I try not to set up the question. So to retired Knitter, I try not to ask that but rather, which outfit looks better. I did ask him once - Do I look fat? He replied, Do I look stupid?"ReplyDelete
Julie, love the last line. My son has only just reached the age where he is experimenting with lying, and it is something I will not be lenient about. At this point, I try to help him understand how important trust and the truth are, and how damaging lies can be. I know there's a long road ahead, though, and I can only do my best.ReplyDelete
On the flip side, my mother has said sometimes she wished I would have lied here and there, because I was too painfully honest and there were things she'd rather she didn't know about. I'm betting she doesn't REALLY mean that, though. ;-p
@Rhonda - I'll have to remember the "which outfit looks better?" line. I love your husband's "do I look stupid?" reply!ReplyDelete
@Shannon - Your mom probably only means it to a point. We want to stay connected to our families, but sometimes the details can be a lot to handle. I think I'd rather know the whole truth even if it takes a while to process it. Thanks Shannon!
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