Ahhh it is an elusive thing, truth, it slips and slides in and out of our lives, important at times, at others not so.
It is not absolute, it is personal and its meaning varies with each one who attempts to define it, with each circumstance. Be suspect of anyone who vows their total honesty, for while that may be their intent, we all lie.
Little lies. White lies. Kind lies. We lie about our bad habits, we lie about our fears, we lie about our likes and our dislikes, our wants, about ourselves and those we love, about how much coffee we drink. We lie when we’re asked what we really think, about this, or that. We lie to please, to hide our mistakes.
Harmless lies whose intent is to soften a brutal world. Graceful lies, artful lies. Gentle, protecting lies meant to show respect. We turn our backs yet peek with curiosity at the cruel honesty our culture seems to reward, confessional “reality,” which layers lies upon lies.
“Tell the truth,” we teach our children, yet they witness our own little lies, for with them we teach them also that telling the truth is not always polite, or kind, or appropriate. Lying is, they learn early on, necessary.
Yet lies can dig deep and grow roots, and become part of us. True liars find pleasure in their ability to weave stories which entrance, which delude and lose sight of the truth whose importance fades. The lie becomes a game of sorts, a challenge. In a culture of gamification lying becomes yet another way to reach the final goal, to level, to win.
My children share the stories they hear of cheating with their father so that he might be better equipped to combat it in his classroom. Answers written on the inside labels of water bottles, adhered to fingernails. Illness feigned once test sheets are photographed and shared (at a price). When caught the punishment is mild, little lies told to ease the harshness of the crime, to forgive, to hide. They are good kids…
London is burning and nine year olds are relishing in the game of looting. They don’t even care enough to lie about their actions anymore, brazenly proud of their success, sneakers in hand. This is their truth. It is a dangerous cocktail this one of hopelessness mixed with an ethical wasteland. They were good kids…