‘Sometimes kindness is more important then honesty,’ I said to my children as we were sitting down for dinner last night. I can’t even remember what led up to the statement, but I said it. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
‘When?,’ my youngest asked, and ‘how do you know?’ added her older brother.
I looked up and saw that all three of my children were intently looking at me and waiting for my response.
Shoot. They all now believe that their mother had just told them that it’s okay to lie. Great, just what I need.
‘Um, well I guess when you think that it’s not too important a thing and that maybe bending the truth a bit isn’t really going to hurt anyone. It’s called telling a ‘white lie’ and sometimes, but only very rarely, it’s okay.’ I said. At least I think this was the lame answer I gave.
‘So, it’s okay to lie then?’ asks the nine year old.
‘Well, yes and no. You should never lie to your parent’s,’ I say. This I thought, shouldn’t get me into too much trouble. I mean, I want my kids to be kind, but I honestly think they’re too young to know the subtleties of the ‘white lie’. I think it’s better, for the next few years at least, for them to go on believing the; ‘Don’t lie EVER’ line I usually feed them.
‘Not even about your haircut?’ asks the twelve year old.
Oh, for god’s sake. Yes! Yes! You can always lie about the way your mother looks. Tell her she’s fabulous, sexy and looks like a nineteen old. Ask her if she’s lost weight, tell her she’s the best mother in the world. Lie! Lie! Lie! Lie to your mother!
Fortunately I only thought it.
‘No – not even about that,’ is what I really said. Then I told them to eat their dinner.
They’ll figure out the ‘white lie’ soon enough anyway, probably even have it perfected about the time they go out on their first date. God knows they’ll need it.
By the way, have I told you all lately that you’re looking fabulous?
No one is ever going to believe another thing I say.