The lies I tell are usually in my son’s best interest, for instance I don’t really know if the dog will bite him if he pets her while she is eating, but I think it’s safer not to, so I say with great confidence that he will get bitten. I wish I could say all my bending of the truth is of this nature, in the name of my son’s safety, but to be completely honest there are times that my manufacturing of the truth is purely selfish in nature.
One bright and sunny morning while driving in the car, my son strapped safely in the back seat, we were discussing the virtues of always telling the truth when he read one of the only things he knows how to read on a store marquee as we were passing, “Toys.” As usual, my son began his extended diatribe about how if we stop at the Toy Store he won’t ask for anything and will leave as soon as I say it’s time, knowing perfectly well he doesn’t have nearly the self-discipline to pull off either of those things. I quickly changed gears from my ethical talk about honesty and dived right into my fabricated explanation of why we can’t stop at the Toy Store, because it doesn’t open till 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and that was hours from when we were passing it.
I was a little shocked at my own disregard for the truth when it suited my needs, but honestly if my son could handle the truth (that the store was wide open and waiting for unsuspecting children who can’t walk away from a toy store without a toy or a tantrum) I would have told it. I think it will be years before I can completely offer honest answers to all my son’s questions, maybe in high school, or college….it will be many, many years.