As our children grow to learn how to speak and hold conversations, they also learn how to establish differences in their own ways. They will say exactly what they think without having any concept of whether or not it hurts someone’s feelings.
Once you have a child who reaches the ages of two and six, there is no more white-lying your way out of anything. As they do not know any better, they will say everything to the best of their knowledge.
Last week, my oldest son broke a drawer in the bathroom. Instead of listening to my husband complain about how “destructive” the boys are all the time, I decided to say that I broke it.
“What happened to the bathroom drawer now?” my husband whines.
“I broke it when I took it out to clean it,” I replied.
“Mommy didn’t break the drawer, Dominic did!” Here comes my see all, hear all, and know all, toddler to rat me out.
When a child speaks the truth by saying to a bald man, my brother, for instance, “Uncle Ryan, why don’t you have any hair? Did somebody take it or did it fall out?” We as adults laugh both in humor and embarrassment. It has always been acceptable for a child to speak his or her mind, but it is the complete opposite for an adult to do the same.
Out of the mouths of babes comes the truth. How different would this world be if our concept was that of a child? If we spoke the truth to everybody with the exceptions of “yes, that outfit looks good on you,” when you really think it is hideous or answering the telephone and saying someone’s not present; while they are sitting right in front of you and don’t feel like having a conversation at the time. These are considered “white lies” which to myself are meant to spare someone’s feelings.
If the human race was programmed like a four year old not to lie, it would be an entirely different world. How would it change your life if for twenty fours hours you had to live like Jim Carey in the movie “Liar Liar”? Could you be totally honest with your friends and family without any negative repercussions? Where would the politicians be?
I believe in the saying “the truth will set you free”.
I believe that lies are learned. If you lie, your child sees this, and determines in their mind that it is okay to lie. If you tell your child the truth and install in them the manners of lying; which lies are good lies, and which are bad, it will follow them through life and they will pass it on.
I believe in honesty.
I believe in a child’s truth serum.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.