Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Lies We Tell

white lie
An often trivial, diplomatic or well-intentioned untruth

I am a stickler for the truth as a general rule. I cannot tolerate lying in any shape or form. And yet I have become quite proficient at telling 'white lies'.

I lie to my kids. I tell them that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real. (I suppose they are - I mean, I am a living, breathing organism no matter how you look at it). I also tell them the Tooth Fairy is real. See above excuse. But the lies are never that simple when you have kids.

What's that present you accidentally found in the back of the car/the cupboard? Ummm... It's for Hayley and Clancy... or, I just buy the box and Santa/Easter Bunny fills the box on the right day.
You swallowed your tooth honey? Ummm... never mind, we'll write a letter to the Tooth Fairy and explain everything. The Tooth Fairy forgot to come? Ummm... she must be REALLY busy at the moment. Never mind, I am sure she won't forget today.

And the good old "don't pick your nose because your head will cave in, or your hand will fall off." Total B.S. Mind you, once we were at a party and there was a guest who had lost a hand in a childhood accident. When Olivia noticed, being the child that she is, she asked him IMMEDIATELY where his hand had gone. And quick as a flash, he replied that it had fallen off from picking his nose too much. Olivia was mortified, and I was delighted. I could not have come up with a lie that good to save my life! It was priceless. And if Olivia never remembers anything else ever again, she remembers that night, and she hasn't been anywhere near her nose ever since.

But why would any self respecting woman be proud of someone lying so blatantly to her child? I'll tell you why! Because it was one less lie I had to tell her myself! Honestly, sometimes I feel like all I do is lie. I am flying by the seat of my pants for several hours of the day. Winging it if you will. Just because I am a parent, doesn't mean I get it right all the time, or that I know the right answer to every question my child asks me.

Children ask a million questions a day. And I am all for trying to educate them and feed their thirst for knowledge. I want to give them the truth as much as I know how to, but sometimes my 'truth' just isn't enough. Sometimes the truth is just 'I don't know.' My girls ask me questions about God, and how the world started, and where is heaven, and what happens when we die. I give an answer that is 'part what I think they should be hearing', and part 'keeping their minds open to new ideas'. I never tell them anything that will frighten them or make them feel insecure. I own a book that offers the kinds of answers to tough questions kids ask. It has helped a lot. (Go to: Questions Children Ask: And How To Answer Them - by Miriam Stoppard).

Sometimes when we are driving in the car, a song with swear words will come on the radio or iPod. When my girls think they have heard a swear word, I deliberately start singing the wrong words to them. For example: "Sex is on Fire" becomes "His legs are on fire"... It's all about protecting their innocence.

The thing about telling white lies to children, is that we do it to keep them little for as long as we can! There is an innocence that is lost when children start "learning the truth", and I for one am keen on delaying that for as long as possible. I like my kids being kids.

My lies don't stop with my kids. I lie to my husband too. Mostly about purchases I have made, but other stuff too. And before you judge me, please refer to the definition of "a white lie" I included above.

When dealing with husbands, it's important to remember that "it's not how much you spend, it's how much you save." Charlie rarely asks what I have spent (it's probably for the best), but we have a mutual trust that we won't make 'major purchases' without approval from the other first... Even though there was that time he bought the work ute without asking... but I digress... In any event, the white lies I tell Charlie sound something like, "I have saved you SO much money! This item was almost 50% off the original price." or "This old thing? I've had it for ages..." or "It was on sale!" or "I only buy nice things and clothes to make me a better wife. I'm so much happier for having this new phone/dress/hat/bag/shoe". You get the picture?

Sometimes I exaggerate times with my husband too. Times that "book club" starts. Times that I was on facebook etc. Not that my husband makes me feel guilty about doing 'my thing'... but CP is a busy man, and sometimes it's just easier to be more productive. I justify doing my thing as having "mental health time".

The thing about lying is that you ultimately always get caught. Think about Santa, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy. Think about your new purchases, and things you have said. And that's why I stress the importance of white lies in my life as opposed to the nasty, hurtful ones.

So call me a liar. I am a liar. Tell me something I don't know. But something you should know about me, is that I only tell white lies. I swear...

1 comment:

  1. Hello Jesse,

    A great post. I found your blog via my sister in New Zealand who is friends with Pauline. The world truly is a small place. Hope you have a great week with your family.
    Happy days.


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