#156 Honest

“Daddy?”

“Yes, son?”

“You scared me when you said I was naughty. I didn’t want you to say that I was naughty. That wasn’t very nice. Sometimes people make me cry, and that is not very nice either. You made me cry saying that I was naughty. Daddy, say sorry for saying that I was naughty and for scaring me by saying that I was naughty. Say sorry now, daddy.”

This is a strange, impressive strategy for my son to take. I doubt myself imeadiatly. I rewind what happened. I did say he was naughty, but not in a scary way. It takes a while for me to formulate a response. “I didn’t mean to scare you, son, but when I said you were naughty it was because you were naughty.” I say this carefully and calmly.

“No!” My son screeches. “I’m not naughty, daddy! You’re scaring me again!”

“You were naughty, son.”

“Nooooo! Stop scaring me daddy!”

“Son?”

“Yes?”

“Did you hit your sister?”

“No.”

I think we can all agree that lying is bad. Really bad. It’s one of a parent’s worst enemies and you have to battle it constantly. Of course, it’s not always easy telling the truth. Lying works. People fall for it. It can achieve your goals. It’s very tempting.

“Now son. You know that you shouldn’t lie, don’t you?”. He nods. “Did you hit your sister?” He shakes his head piously. “Son. I saw you hit your sister. Hitting your sister is naughty. So you were naughty when you hit your sister. Now, remembering that you shouldn’t lie and lying is very naughty, Did you hit your sister?”

“No.”

“Did you hit your sister?”

“Yes, but, but, but, but, but she tried to hit me.”. “Did she hit you?”. “Yes.”. “Did she?”. “…no.”. “That’s why I said you were naughty. Because you hit your sister.”

“But Daddy! That was then. I’m not naughty now!”

I fall silent, brain exhausted. He’s confused me to a stand still. Again. At least he seems to have got the message about lying. That’s something.

Later, his tone more conciliatory, he asks if he can watch telly. I say no.

“But you said I could watch telly later!” He reminds me.

It’s true. I did say that. He’s using truth against me. I struggle for a responce. “Er… I’m sorry, son. The telly is… broken.”

Honesty is… over rated.

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