I’ve heard the argument that kids
don’t need to be taught how to lie.
They know how to inherently.
While true, I still disagree with the premise. At least in part.
In my estimation it’s one-sided.
Where you are on this point speaks to your world view in general.
Children also know how to be honest.
“Out of the mouths of babes.” Kids tell the brutal truth.
So they know how to do that inherently also.
Let’s attempt to keep the scale balanced with the revelation of truth.
Learning to Choose
Kids don’t have the social filters of experience either in lying or truth telling.
Their choice is what we’re talking about.
Kids first learn about truth or lies by testing it out at home or by what they see at home. They want to get a response from the parent. They are seeking engagement.
What is the parent encouraging?
Kids inherently want to connect, to have a bond as they find out about boundaries. They want the safety to push and still come back to everything in their world being ok.
Although they aren’t aware of why, what they are really seeking, with honesty or lies, is the ability to form relationships that help them grow and understand themselves.
Relationships are inherently a good thing, the choice of good ones or bad ones aside.
Isolation is the opposite of relationship.
You send a kid to their room when they do wrong.
A prisoner gets put into isolation as punishment even as he is being isolated from the rest of the world as punishment.
Kids seek relationships first from parents and siblings. Then friends.
They will choose relationships with people. Whether it’s positive or negative probably has more to do with their evaluation of relationships that were established early in their lives. That’s were good parenting comes in.
If you have a relationship with your kids, and you praise honesty and give them good results with honesty, if you teach them the proper boundaries of dishonesty, then you give them tools to form good relationships with later.
Seems obvious, right? Yet there are many to whom it doesn’t seem so, and you know some of them.
Tools, example and proper encouragement are what we can best give, it’s individual choice beyond that.
Kids do indeed know how to lie by nature. That’s true. That is not the argument.
Not enough weight is given to what is taught about connecting and the rewards of being honest. It’s not as concrete. Morality gets its results later. Results from a lie are right now.
Kids will manipulate, we all do.
The balancing of it is the interesting part of the discussion.
I know people who are very in balance with the amount of honesty they have in their life.
They are happy, well-adjusted people. They can handle the down cycles. I’ve seen them get through it.
The argument is in the dominant thought that kids, actually all adults too, fundamentally have the knowledge of how to lie, how to tell the truth, and that their choice is so deep-seeded towards lying that they just can’t help it.
Are adults then perpetuating this programming of how to lie and manipulate by the hierarchical work system and a media culture bent to coerce?
Lying is given far too much attention and leaves negative affects as a result. If given the choice, and we are, who would want negative results? It’s the expectation of your experience. It’s where you place your attention daily by the default of your actions. As in the example where your child comes home with All A’s and one B- and you only focus on what went wrong to get the B rather than praising all they did to get A’s.
If we are given human defaults, abilities, as gifts to use in our lives, we are responsible for strengthening our ability to manage them with ethics.
The following question is – where do we get our ethics from?
If you believe that something is a gift from God, doesn’t that mean we have a responsibility to strengthen it?
Once we have a source for ethics, or a gauge to go by, we still have the hard work of controlling our behavior.
That is the bigger factor in your life towards being successful and impactful.
Pre-wired is a starting point.
The result of our lives is something we have to jump into and engage with.
That is connection and that’s the truth.