The film “Miracle on 34th Street” asks us to judge ” which is worse, a lie that draws a smile, or a truth that draws a tear?”.
What would your answer be? What kind of person are you? As children we are brought up with the idea that honesty is the best policy, that situations are black and white or right or wrong. These are the ideals we hopefully strive to embrace.
However, as a mother of 4 children, this truth and honesty subject seems to almost come up on a daily basis and each time my husband and I must try to show a consistent approach to how we deal with such situations.
It’s hard. I know how I was brought up and what I was brought up to believe. I still believe those things today but now I know that life isn’t always black and white, right or wrong but rather is coloured with many grey shades also.
Just this morning my youngest child was playing bowling on the Wii with her siblings and she was finding it difficult and wasn’t doing very well score wise. Naturally this was upsetting her although she was trying not to show it. So her older sister (she’s 8) was trying to encourage her by saying she was doing really well and turning her score around so it read better. She meant well, it was done out of a heart of love but as Izzy can read she wasn’t fooled by her sisters antics.
This was an attempted situation of a lie bringing a smile instead of the truth drawing a tear. I gently took her aside and said how much I loved her and it was a difficult game and the important thing was she had fun and she would get better with practice.
Should I just have lied and said she was doing brilliantly when she knew the truth anyway? I don’t think so.
I’ve told you before that lieing is one of my pet hates. It devalues relationships and makes fools of people and it’s always obvious anyway.
I think in some instances it is possible to be too honest, particularly if the answer will cause somebody pain. I have been guilty of white lies occasionally when it comes to friends. I have a good friend who has put a large amount of weight on and I know she feels awful about it. We meet each week at each others houses and she talks about it a lot. I try to make her feel good about herself. One time though she asked me directly how she looked and I lied. It was wrong but I didn’t want to upset her. Perhaps as a true friend I should have been more honest.
My approach would usually be to try to focus on something good so I might say “I love that colour you’re wearing” or “your hair looks great” but not to tell an outright lie. In fact sometimes it might be better to keep silent.
I know that when I ask people for their opinion, say my husband, on an outfit, I will already have an idea of how I look anyway so his answer in a way is merely for effect, like window dressing. Most times I know I will be too critical of myself but I am trying to get over that.
Having come from a family with divorced parents and been in a relationship with a previous partner who had an affair I do believe in those circumstances that honesty is the best policy. I would rather someone told me they didn’t love me any more than went through the motions. I always said infidelity would be a deal breaker in a relationship. When it happened with my first serious boyfriend and note I’m not saying it was all his fault, we had problems before that, I stayed with him or got back together with him because I still loved him but it was never the same afterwards. I never trusted him again.
There are some times in our lives when we’ve been honest and are taken for liars anyway. This hurts. Knowing that we know the real truth can be small comfort when we’re awake in the small hours worrying. In times like these we must hope and pray the truth will one day come out.