My son lied to both me and his mother the other day. He has told lies before. Things like when we ask him if he has watched his TV limit and he tries to sneak another show or if he has eaten a treat and tries for another piece of candy or a cookie. He calls this being sneaky, not lying, (I know, fine line) and thinks of it as a sort of game, and I understand that. To him it is a game to see what he can get past us. So these things fall outside of lies for us most of the time because we know what he is doing. As a family we have been sick for the last, oh let’s say two months, it has been a bad Spring so far health wise. My wife, an actor, is in a play, and teaching and I am working full time as well as working on writing projects. I would say we are full up right now and with this sickness we are just barely making it through some days. Which is why this lie was different.
When I woke up the other day with a sore throat, a new symptom to add to a my horde of cold like symptoms, I mentioned it to Nicole. Max heard me. Later, she took him to school and when he got there said that his throat was sore and he wanted to stay home. With all of us being sick so much recently, who was she to doubt that? So she took him home. This was supposed to be Nicole’s day off, now with two kids to watch, it would again be a day of work with no rest when our 7-month napped. It was only 15 minutes after they were home that she knew Max had lied. He was doing somersaults around the house and running at full speed. That’s when Nicole sat him down and asked him point blank if he was really sick. To his credit, he said no. He said that when he saw his best friend wasn’t at school he didn’t want to stay. Nicole was livid. The rest of the day were a series of punishments and talks. This all bothered us for so many reasons; There was the surface of just having lost out on rest as we struggle to get better, the act of doing something he knew was wrong, and of course because this moved beyond just being sneaky.
Today we are living in a world where truth matters. Every day I am reminded of how important it is to make sure my kids understand that the things they say have resonance, meaning, and consequences. We are surrounded on all sides by people who are less that savory and would have our children believing that we can say whatever we want. That the truth is something to be taken for granted. It is not. I will be the first person to say that many times there is no black and white when it comes to truth and lies. There can be a grey when it is hard to define things. However most of us know very well when we are telling a lie, and when we pretend that lie it is the truth, or that its ok, things are made more complicated both emotionally and morally. I want my son to understand not so much the difference between these things, because I think he understands that, but to know what it means to use the truth as a means to create a positive way forward and that to lie means a negative stop.
How Can Pop Culture Help?
My question to you is are there movies, TV shows, or books that you feel have been helpful to talk about truth and lies to your kids? I am looking beyond The Boy who Cried Wolf. I’m looking for things that kids today can really get invested in and we can use to talk about what all this business of truth and lies really means. Anyone, anyone? Share your thoughts and suggestions for all of us on the Popkids site, our Facebook wall or tweet at us @popkids2017.