The Truth about Lying
If your daughter has been playing dress up with your only formal gown, streaked it with lipstick and pulled out a seam, but acknowledges her culpability shouldn’t she still face some form of discipline for her
actions? But by correcting her, how will she react the next time? Will she be as eager to tell the truth again? Probably not.
Lying is not just a personal issue. It affects all of society. Professor Bernard Phillips of Boston University’s Department of Sociology says, “We’ve developed the kind of culture where we expect the
truth less and less often.”
Professor Phillips suggests, “there is too little communication within our society and that may result in less emphasis on truthfulness.
“An individual interacting in two separate social settings may say and do things in one situation that don’t look good in another. Contradictions exist between our social organizations and our cultural
values. As these contradictions increase so does our lying to each other and our lying to ourselves.”
Truth at Home
We should set the example for truth-telling at home. “In creating a family value system, the value of telling the truth has to be addressed,” says Harrell.
Should we always tell the truth? Is there ever a time that lying may be okay?
“If being a good person is the most important value, then not telling the truth to preserve someone’s feelings may be approved in that family and the lying becomes a situational value,” explains Harrell.
“Families need to decide where their values come from. If it’s the Bible, no place in the Bible advocates lying.”
But no matter how staunchly we defend veracity, our children are exposed to lying all the time. And what makes me really angry is when it is displayed publicly through the media. Gary LaPierre, news director at
WBZ Radio in Boston, admits that the media should take some responsibility. “Sometimes the media are too quick to accept almost anything that comes our way and treat it as gospel. We may be after a news story at any cost. But maybe we need to look at the bigger
picture. What kind of atmosphere are we creating that is trickling down to young people?”
Public lying is becoming big business. There have been several well-publicized cases of people lying and making huge profits from their stories. When the truth is finally revealed they are still celebrities with large followings.
“Some of these guys are made out to be heroes,” says LaPierre. “When I started broadcasting 30 years ago the
truth was much more revered than it is today. I think we’ve perfected a system of lying. Society has decided it is almost okay to lie.”
It is a thorny issue for us parents. “It’s very complex,” says Harrell. “Parents need to decide what the highest values are in their lives and the lives of their children.”
For me it is telling the truth. And even though there may be days when I feel like I’m negotiating my way through a minefield of deception, I will continue to stress the importance of honesty.
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