This I Believe

So-mi - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity

I was sitting curled up on the floor of the dark bathroom. I cried, “I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY!” over and over, but I knew my cries would reach nowhere. After I have cried for good 10 minutes, I gave up and began to weep. A light seeped through the bathroom, and I knew that could mean only one thing: I was being let out.

Such a punishment was used by my mother to stress the two most important lessons that stayed with me since my kindergarten years. Although I had to relearn them several times, these lessons slowly became etched into my heart: Truth is good. Lie is bad.

Throughout my childhood, I would lie. Every time I lied, I was punished severely by my mother. I started to fear lying for its inevitable punishment. I even began to wonder if everyone didn’t lie because they’d get punished too.

As I matured a bit from my kindergarten years, I was introduced to the TV. The more I watched TV, the more I realized that this world is full of liars. I realized why my lies were ineffective. I realized that good liars make their message as credible, and appealing, as possible for their intended audience. Good liars used sly and devious words to persuade their audience. Realizing this, I began to apply their techniques to polish my lying skills. Soon, I was able to fool the all-seeing woman, my mother.

I continued along this misguided road until the day when one of my lies affected my cousin. On that day, I used my lying skills to convince my mother about how my cousin did not buy any food for me. In truth, he bought me more food than he bought for himself.

About a week later from that day, I found out that my cousin was grounded since that day. His parents heard from my mother about how he did not buy any food for me when he was told to. Guilt and shame swarmed over me, for I wasn’t trying to get my cousin grounded. When I told my lie, I thought it would work smoothly. I didn’t think that such a little lie would cause any problems.

From that moment, I realized the true reason behind my mother’s punishments. My mother did not punish me to make me afraid to lie. Instead, she punished me to build a habit of telling the truth. I realized that lying can hurt others as well as me. A lie is a double-edged knife that can either slice through obstacles, or slice me. This is what I learned. This is what I believe.