I’ve been reliably informed that we all lie. We who believe ourselves to be ‘good people’ may try not to, but there it is, that little white (or black) lie, creeping into our thoughts and conversations.
We might just lie to ourselves, i.e have a pretty good opinion of ourselves for no apparent reason. Think about it – are you really that terrific person, or is it just that you see yourself bathed in the rosy glow of honesty, kindness and good deeds? If any of us really thought about it, I suspect none of us is as good (or as bad) as we think – we are human, after all, which as they say, is a rich mix of pretty much everything, good and bad.
This topic came to mind because I’ve been thinking so much of my granddaughter Matilda over the holidays. This cancer thing means no trips to the UK to see her, no trips for her to come see me. And it hurts. She is growing up so fast, and “grandma no hair”, as she now calls me, is missing a lot.
She’s talking great guns now, too. As part of that, soon her mum (aka my daughter) will be having The Talk with her. Soon, Matilda will here something like
I always want you to tell me the truth. If you tell me the truth, you won’t get in trouble.
I said the same to my daughter, my mother said the same to me. Ad infinitum.
And yet. I still lied to my mother as a child (not very well, though, as she always knew when I was lying). My daughter lied to me, rather more convincingly than I did as a child. And certainly, my darling Matilda will lie to her mother. Sorry, Peg, but it’s true, and your heart will be hurt by it.
Why? Why do they do it? There are zillions of articles that tell you why, and how to ‘fix’ it. But I found, that even if you follow all the usual good parenting advice, the little blighters will still do it! They will put that cute little look on their face, look you straight in the eye…and lie. As a parent, you feel so betrayed – even after all your Good Talks, it happens.
I don’t really understand it either, so I can’t offer any solutions. I guess my own theory is, that as children grow up, there are a whole host of reasons for lying. It may be to get away with something (like when I blamed the spilled orange juice on my sister), or it may increasingly just be a power thing. Do you remember the first time you made that big adult believe something you told them, and then getting away with it – what a power rush! Kind of like – HAH! I just knew mom wasn’t smarter than me!
In my case, I usually ended up telling the truth, and I still do. I’d like to say it was/is because I take the moral high ground, but unfortunately it’s more a case of being such a dreadful liar. Something happens in my face when I lie, such that even strangers know when I’m not telling the truth! Even as an adult, my face betrays me every time. Bummer.