Teaching Children to Lie

I just had yet another discussion with my middle boy, the genius boy, about how one must sometimes lie. How one must sometimes as much as you have been taught otherwise, feign interest or compassion so one gets decent marks in school especially in classes that require you to deal with social issues. I haven’t yet taken this discussion into the realm of real world post school applications. It isn’t going swimmingly.

He is very intelligent not unlike his parents (yay us…) and like me is very very analytical. He sees things as black and white with very little grey in between. When faced with being forced to take part in a program whereby they listen to people speaking on things they do to make a positive “change” in society, he is thus asked to explain how it inspired him. His answer is “it didn’t inspire me”. As one who is never inspired by the goodwill actions of others I see where he is coming from but i also being an adult know that there are things you keep in your head and things you can say and ways to not seem like a complete sociopath when you speak.

I explained to him that part of being smart is being able to not only read people but know what they are expecting you to say. That if these people expect you to say “I think the homeless situation needs solving. It’s terrible.” Then you better say it if these people can fail you or fire you for not towing the party line.  I explained how to omit opinion and stick to embellished facts if you are somehow morally obligated to not lie.

I think he gets it.

I am raising a Dexter. Aren’t I

Ugh

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One thought on “Teaching Children to Lie

  1. davyfive

    Very good Sean. White lies are sometimes required in our day to day existence and you have pointed this out quite well. We all know people who “speak their minds” and this can be extremely refreshing at times, allowing others to say what we are actually thinking. It’s always nice to have one of those types in the room but in reality, as you have pointed out so well, it is often an easier road travelled to say the “appropriate” thing. I don’t consider it lying necessarily. It’s called a filter. This is not to say we have to roll over for anyone and simply agree. There is an old saying, something to do about the fact that we have only one mouth and two ears. Listening over speaking and when you recieve a message, respond accordingly. In my line of work, diplomacy or salesmanship (take your pick) goes a long way. It’s not lying. It’s a tool. There is a huge difference between lying and respondng appropriately given the particular situation.

    As for my intelligent and thoughtful sons, I need to filter my responses to their many questions (religion comes to mind) to provoke and promote their own thoughts using my skills and experience as a guide rather than just simply spouting off what I think is “right”. I want to be a positive influence but I do recognize that perhaps some of my opinions (religion again) might actually be wrong, even harmful. Hence, a filter.

    Regards,

    Dave C

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