There is a news article making the rounds about a dad in a tiny rural town in Virginia that promised his daughter she could be a princess and then stakes his personal integrity on this one promise, because Daddy isn’t a liar. Of all the countless promises we make, this one would be the one he took seriously. #Iamtotallyjudgingyourightnow
“Sorry honey, I’d love to help out with the carpool but I have to go claim this uncontested patch of desert, because Daddy promised. Be back in a month, ciao!”
On the other hand…
I lied, there is no other hand.
SEE! It’s easy, just lie to the kid and call it a day. I thought of six good reasons this dad missed a perfect opportunity to lie to his daughter.
1) Lying is harmonious
Face it people, lying is the foundation of civilization. Can you imagine the chaos if we all went around saying what we actually thought of each other all the time? We would never have advanced out of the “Hit-Gruug-with-club-and-steal-his-mate” phase. We lie all the time, even more so if we like the person and we want to not hurt their feelings.
2) Lying is fun
Southerners have raised this kind of trolling to an artform… you really have never been good and properly lied to unless a Proper Southern Lady has told you your outfit looked “daring” or your tie was “fun”. Then there is my friend who convinced her kids that school was re-opened over a holiday break. Like a great crossword clue, a well-crafted lie is an intellectual challenge from the lie-er to the lie-ee: catch me if you can!
3) Lying makes you nicer and more likable
In order for you to lie to someone to protect their feelings, you have to understand what their feelings might be. That’s empathy, people, and according to US News it’s the number one trait that is going to keep your kids from moving back in with you after they graduate college. Remember that friend you used to have that liked to say “I prefer to be brutally honest all the time”? Chances are he preferred the “brutal” part, which is why he is no longer your friend.
4) Lying makes you smarter
Remember when you were a kid and you were trying to decide just how much to tell your parents? No supercomputer can perform the calculations a six year old can in the instant between their parents asking “What happened?” and “I didn’t do it!” A host of variables go into the calculation, like “how bad does it look” and “what is the likely punishment?” and “how close is the nearest exit?”
5) Lying makes the truth more powerful
In the adult world, we pretty much expect everyone is not being completely honest with us. Just because my barista says “I hope you enjoy it” does not mean she really has any emotional investment in my cappuccino appreciation. She’s lying, I know she’s lying, nothing else needs to be said. We expect to be lied to so much that when someone actually speaks the truth it’s more out of place than a music video on MTV.
Confession time: I lie to my kids constantly. Sometimes they call me on it. So far they have deduced:
- Babies do not come from Home Depot
- That smell did not come from the dog, but in fact from Daddy
- We are not going somewhere fun, unless by fun you mean the garden section at Home Depot
In fact we frequently play a game called “Is Daddy Being Sarcastic?” in which I try to pass off the most bald-faced lie imaginable and see if they catch me.
At least, I’m playing the game.