Telling a friend her outfit looks great when in your head you’re dialing TLC’s What Not to Wear and contemplating taking secret footage seems harmless. After all, a little white lie is just a diplomatic way of telling an untruth for the purpose of sparing someone’s feelings? Right? Do we really always need to tell the truth, regardless of the circumstance?
Our kids tell white lies all the time, to us, their friends and even their teachers. Hell, DW and I have done it numerous times when the truth is just too uncomfortable. But the bottom line is that a white lie is still a lie, regardless of the original intent.
Last night DW and The Hare battled over something that started out so trivial. Many tears were shed and TV privileges were revoked for the remainder of the evening. The Hare finally spilled the beans about her true intentions. Fear of accountability is what it really boiled down to. It was far simpler to just say “I don’t know why I acted that way” rather than admit “I just didn’t feel like doing the right thing”. White lies have a way of releasing us from responsibility and the more we use them as a crutch, the less accountable we are to the truth. And then white lies, turn into bigger lies.
Sometimes I get frustrated with DW’s no-tolerance, everything is black or white, it’s either a truth or a lie approach to parenting but last night he really drove the point home. It’s our job as parents to make sure our kids take responsibility for their actions. It’s our job to teach them how to respond in uncomfortable situations respectfully and tactfully yet as truthfully as possible. We can not gloss over the half-truths or white lies simply because we deem them to be less offensive or trivial. Every moment our kids are faced with telling the truth or a lie, is an opportunity for them to build strength in character and integrity. It is a lesson in being accountable and a lesson in how to treat others the way we want to be treated. I want to see my daughters become women of their word, women who can be trusted at all times and women who always let people know where they stand with them. I don’t want them to be the constant peace-makers and people-pleasers.
But in order to do that – I’m probably going to have to learn how to receive those little stabbing truths more gracefully so my children know it is safe to be more honest.
Today’s prompt from The Daily Post asked this question:
“If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?”
I would choose to master honesty.