Wasn't life easier when we played by playground rules and when someone told a big, fat lie we just screamed, "Liar, liar! Pants on fire!"?
Life has become so much more complex.
This is an area of growing discussion around the Womack house. It seems that the youngest of my offspring has discovered one of life's universal truths: If you are trustworthy, it is easy to lie and get away with it. She has also realized another important fact: When you are caught telling a lie, no one trusts you to tell the truth in the future. Imagine a peaceful Saturday morning. The sun has just come up and a sweet little voice is inches from my face as I sleep in my bed. I hear, "Mom, can I watch TV?" I am instantly awake. Not so much from the noise, but from the overwhelming scent of chocolate that has invaded my personal space. "Little one, why are you eating chocolate so early and without permission?" The response, "I'm not." We recently had the two small boys of our dear friends over for an afternoon. One came racing around the corner following a visit to the bathroom. "Did you wash your hands?" The response, "Yup, Ms. Mandy." When I asked to see his hands, he hightailed it right back into the sink. In both of these relationships, I now look twice. I know that Z sneaks candy and I know that A doesn't like to wash his hands. I am sure both had previously done both things... probably many times.
It is a problem that plagues the best (and most innocent) among us. And, well, those that are not quite so young and innocent.
I encountered several moments this week around this topic and, trust me, it is complex. It is a complex, tangled mess. I share with you this fact about me, but in a non self-righteous way: I very rarely lie. I have MANY bad habits, but lying is not one of them. Early on I learned that if you don't want to say the answer to something, you just tell the person, "I am not comfortable/ready/wanting to talk about that." I find that it is so much easier than creating a habit that requires me to remember who I told what to when. The moments of this week involved some of those direct choices to tell the truth or lie, but also several were more subtle. They were the lies that involve the omission of facts. You know the scenario I mean, right? Answers to questions that are not false, but also not the entire story. Some days I feel like conversations are a treasure map and that if I find enough clues I can get to what I am seeking.
We are organizations built on values like truth, honor, and integrity. How do we hold the reality of our world with the reality of what we pledged to uphold at initiation? As we grow as a community, can we challenge ourselves to grow individually? Perhaps it is around big issues, or perhaps it is around smaller things. Either way, challenge yourself to not lie the next time someone asks a question you don't want to answer. Don't allow yourself to be sucked into the world of pretending things are bigger and better than what you are. You were selected to join your organization because they liked YOU for who YOU ARE.
And, I may just try to bring back the "Pants on fire!" taunt if I catch you. ;)