Saturday, October 16, 2010

Liar Liar Pants On Fire.

It's Crow-eatin' time.

Based on the above title, it's probably obvious that a boo-boo has raised it's ugly head. Carey, my grandson, told a lie.

If you have not been following along, I have a short recap. Last week, my grandson, who is six years old, informed the family that his teacher said Santa Claus didn't exist. Well, for various reasons, that did not hit the feel-good part of my brain. So, I sent off a harsh letter to his teacher and the school's superintendent.

No You Didn't Say That To My Grandson!

Now, as the world turns, it's time for me to jack-up my slacks and see what went wrong. But first, an apology was in order. Since I am not a writer, more so a storyteller, I reached out to a blog friend to help me compose a letter that would convey my true feelings without sounding negro-notorious. The letter follows

Hello Ms [Teacher}

As you know, Carey told a lie. His actions were not the act of a future psychopath-in-training, children lie. The smaller, the younger they are, it has to be accepted as a natural part of childhood. Unfortunately, I made my move to soon. It should be understood that it's not so unusual nor unusual for the bigheads to fib.

Consequently, I return to you with a heavy heart. I must ask of you, in my most humble request that you please to accept my apology for the letter I previously sent to you. It was written in both anger and disappointment upon the news, given to me by my grandson, that his teacher TOLD him there was no Santa Claus. It was only upon further investigation that I've since learned the child blatantly reported an untruth to us. This, in itself, is a cause for concern, as he has been taught to NEVER tell a lie. And, yet, he did. It's quite possible, that, as children do, he may have heard other kids speaking of Santa Claus, questioning the validity, or even debunking the reality of such a beloved childhood icon, and then he came way believing it to be a myth. Had he only came to us with his questions, as opposed to assigning the blame to you, or any teacher, or adult charged with the supervision and guidance of young minds, then the events that followed would have never transpired. For this, again, I offer my heartfelt apology.

Carey xxxxx, aka, Carey Bailey's grandfather

Well folks, when I first received the news of Lil Carey's misdeed, I was floored. I immediately thought of the poor teacher I had scandalized and if I should've, could've, moved in a different direction?

Having reached out to many of my friends, including "you", my blog readers, who stopped their world before and after the incident, asking for words of advice and wisdom, I am left to wonder, what about a time called now? What's the words for today? Are there any serendipitous rewards on the table? The following was a response.

Carey, you may be over-thinking this, man. Consider the kid's age. Surely people in the education field KNOW this. If he's not someone they see as 'troubled' or has a history of bad behaviors, then it's unlikely that they'll over-react. A show of parental & family concern is more desirable than indifferent, absentee parents & loved ones who don't give a damn & never get involved in a child's schooling. I think it reflects better upon you that you CARED enough to send the letter. The tricky part is this wasn't an incident that happened IN the classroom, so it's not like the teacher can punish him, or take him aside & read him the riot act.

Yes, there's a chance this teacher can become less involved w/your grandson's day to day activities, and less trusting of him. But, you know what? If that proves to be the case, then it would be good to KNOW this now, because then this isn't much a teacher anyway. They are are supposed to be accepting of the ways, imperfections & the issues of those under their tutledge.

Meanwhile, if this remains a real concern of yours, then I would personally request a face to face meeting w/ said teacher. Again, this would demonstrate your love and concern for the child, along with providing you an eye-witness account to gage the attitude of the teacher.

I believe the above is good advice.

Okay, this is where I am at today. I have a hard line position on lying and liars.

Who desires to wear the name, Liar? I will assume that many individuals hate and abhor liars, and consequently, they do not want to be classified as one. Yet, has it become convenient, and accepted behavior, to lie for what some believe to be good intentions?

But wait, first, does everyone lie? I asked that question in another post, and most respondents replied in the affirmative. Well, I was the dissenting voice. I know it's a fact that everyone does not lie.

"Come on Carey, everybody lies".

Nope, that's not true. Besides, how can you prove that? I mean, what compels someone to state something as a fact when it's only their assumption?

Anyway, deceit, in any fashion is the wrecking ball to most relationships. And, in my opinion, it leaves doubt and fear and unrepairable mistrust. The only thing that can support a lie... is another lie. I do not wish to look over my shoulder.

Look, it's a fact that people lie for several reasons. Big or small, short are tall, people lie. A little white lie or a lie by omission, is nevertheless a lie. People are quick to say they lied to protect someones feelings, but in truth, they lied to protect their own feelings. They didn't desire to hear or feel the assumed response, which may have moved them to a very uncomfortable state. Let that simmer.

In the mean-time, I think there are many reasons why some believe there are legitimate reasons one should lie. And, there are many ways to misrepresent the truth. Part of the problem is not everyone agrees with the definition of lying. Yet, facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored or misunderstood. I am sure some believe there are harmless lies. A little white lie, for example, is considered by many to be a harmless fib that is meant to be tactful and polite.

I have a few ideas why some individuals believe it's okay to fib, or even believes there are times a person should lie. Yet, how big is the shade of truth before it's considered a bare face lie. I mean, who makes the call? If it's left up to the individual, lord knows there's a myriad rationalizations and reasons why many think lying is okay. Check this: It's interesting to note that the Fifth Amendment allows someone to refuse comment if such testimony will incriminate him or her.Well, that's lying by omission - or is it? Well, at the very least, it's passive deceit because a person is withholding information or not volunteering the truth. Well, that begs the question... is deceit as harmful as a lie? Well, one time, I had to call "love TKO" because
the deceit and subsequent mistrust that followed, was killing me, just as if someone was kicking me in my ass.

What about a time called now?

Is it okay to lie?

Did I over-react?

Have you experienced a situation in which a child's lie had you scrambling for cover and/or answers?


Big Mark 243 said...

As Paul Harvey would say... "... and now you know, the REST of the story."

I think that the hardest line of all should be drawn with the young man. Whenever we (the general cognescenti whom children never commit or participate in any acts of malfeasance that young people perperttate these days) look at young people and wonder how did they grow to be so disrespectful and contemptuous of adults and authority in general, we forget about all the small, at the time, innocuous moments that they learned how far they could go. On rare occasions when they overreached, the consequences were light. Slipped $5 dollars out of Mother's purse or slid all the toys underneath the bed when Father says clean the room. Small things to be sure, but still that is a lesson that they have learned.

I wonder if this little boy has learned this behavior, that he can report back anything and get a reaction out of the adults in his home life that would make for a scene. I recall hearing, if not saying myself as a child about a teacher, 'if Mrs. So-and-so did that to me, my Momma is gonna come up here...' And that is what happened in this case, no? You wrote your letter and I have to assume that the parents did not stand idle either.

With the truth out, it is easy to oversimply and chalk it up to overreaction. But one of the things that stregnthens the psycopath in us all (I believe that there is in us a lever that can be pressed and we do the things that we had once thought unimaginable) are these small acts where ideas conspire and create small shadows in our soul. Once we understand the consequence and are either punished where we understand the misbehavior or not, the point is, the fire has been touched and what was the result? If 'burning' was indeed enough, then why would people smoke, drink alcohol or indulge in non-perscription (yeah, and some perscription can be misused, I know) drugs? No matter what they do after a time or two, save for crack, I don't really know of any of these substance that the human body does not react negatively to the first time.

So the little one has to face the consequences of his actions. But discipline is more than punishment. It is creating the expectation of the kind of behaviour that is permissible, and maybe this is the kind of act that has already been tolerated in different circumstances. A fib on a cousing or a joke with an Aunt where a long story was told as a 'truth' when it was mere fabrication.

I could not say what I would do in such a situation, because I did not make the most of my opportunity to be in one. So all I could do is spout theory and observation. Though the damage has been done, you did try to rectify things straight away and without bitterness and rancor. That is a good thing.

Sorry for leaving this incomplete, but I would think being misled by a child leaves many adults with questions about themselves... only the parents have to get over that and resume being parents.

Moanerplicity said...

I hope it all works out, Carey. I have a feeling it will... & you'll be able to look back upon this incident as one of Life's Teachable Moments.

I have to believe that at some point of their lives, all children lie. Over time, some see honesty as the best policy, while some other become quite proficient at it. The true pyschopaths are the ones who become like the Brando/Pacino/Deniro/Denzel (fill in your own master thespian) of liars. We, as adults, can try our best to teach them right from wrong, but once they are away from our guidance they will make their own choices, & fall back upon their own behaviors & survival techniques.

As far as punishment goes: If you approach him on a emotion-based level (as opposed to a violent/threatening level), & if you let them know how their lies in effect, hurt YOU, their caregiver, it may cause them to pause & perhaps even consider the repercussions of lying in the future.

Right now, what's done is done. I have to think a valuable lesson has been learned by you, & more importantly, by your grandson.

Very good letter, btw.


A.Smith said...

Do I think there are times when it's ok to lie? Yes. I also think that the vast majority of us will probably not find ourselves in one of those extreme situations. On a regular day to day basis, there's never a good reason to lie, though we make exceptions for someone who can make a good case, I suppose.

Did you overreact? Eh, hindsight is 20/20 so that's hard to say. We can all sit here and say "well, maybe it would've been an ok idea to call and talk to the teacher first and then send a letter if the call didn't go well." or "perhaps we could've stuck with the part of us that thought 'Why would a teacher say that?' and investigated more..." But I think we all never would've expected young Carey to lie about something like this. Who would expect it? At least you didn't roll up to the school cussin and callin' the teacher's mama fat.

BTW, my growing developmental knowledge says this is an excellent teaching moment. Children are developmentally unable to think about how what they do can be like a domino effect. We oftentimes punish children without teaching them how what they did was wrong. "Lying is wrong" can work, but "Lying is wrong because of the many consequences, including this one..." works much better.

CareyCarey said...

Hello Big Mark, thanks for the comments. As you know, I love long heartfelt comments, so you're always welcome @ my spot.

@ Moan, yeah, good letter, thanks, I couldn't have done it without YOU. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

@ Ashley, see what you have to look forward to. :-)

But children are a gift and I wouldn't change a thing.

Hey yawl, don't eat too much, there's always tomorrow, in all it's glory. The sun will rise in the morning.