Looking back, I admit that I’m not terribly proud of the kid and teenager I was. Amongst a litany of sins, I was sometimes a liar.
In fact, if the occasion suited me, I could tell a BIG whopper. Laying it all bare, I will tell you that I wanted to impress people. I wanted to have the best story. If you didn’t seem impressed by my story, I would keep going and it would snowball into absurdity. Case in point is the time I kept going and trying to one-up a friend so much, I claimed my dad had a false eye. Of course, I covered myself beautifully by telling said friend never to mention it.
As a teenager, I know that it was my instinct to drop a lie or two to try to get out of trouble. Project not done? I promised it was done and at home on the counter. Missed a deadline? Oh no! I completely forgot the date and will have it in ASAP.
Thankfully, by high school, I must have somehow gotten slapped with the need for some modicum of integrity, because the lies became much less brazen. Despite the “fake eye debacle” of elementary school and the ensuing shame I feel to this day, I can honestly say I never lied to my parents about where I was going or who I was with…although I admit I was pretty boring and didn’t do too many things that tempted me to lie (other than never, ever doing my homework – apologies to my former teachers).
Somewhere along the line, I grew to detest lying. I don’t have a good story of where or how that happened, but it did. I have a hard time communicating with and working with someone who lies. Especially blatant lies that can easily be proven. Again, being honest, I’m sure some lies still slip into my conversations. But I can say it’s pretty darn rare these days, even though the temptation is certainly there any time I feel like I might be “in trouble.”
But, you know how they say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Well, it’s true in this case because our D-man can be prone to lies.
They tend to be innocuous, yet annoying. Lying about what a sibling did or didn’t do (I’m an only child, but these seems pretty standard sibling behavior) or lying about cleaning his room (just ask him about the shirts I found behind his laundry basket…and how that all turned out for him!). We’ve been quick to try to curb the lies and every single time, I remind D that we have to know he tells the truth about little things or it will be hard to believe the bigger things.
And he gets it. I know he does, even though we still are catching him in these “little” lies. I have faith and evidence that he’s actually a better human being than I am and I truly believe he’s going to get those morals into his head faster than I did. He can articulate it, he can see the ridiculousness in past lies, he just needs to work on stopping himself before that whopper slips past his lips.
In reality, this isn’t a post about me or about D. It’s a post about the current culture.
I would argue that we live in a time where lying is either accepted or expected or excused. I’m not certain which, but it’s rampant. Politicians have been known for their half-truths and biased data analysis for years. Yet, today is seems to be that liars even contradict themselves and expect to get away with it.
And what scares me is that we often let them because we seem to be unaware.
What scares me is that so many of us even spread the lies, the kernels of truth buried in mountains of assumption, the skewed data.
Social media allows us to spread news, share ideas and opinions and disseminate information faster than ever before. It’s awesome and awful in so many ways and all at once.
How does this relate to lying? It’s all in that button on the bottom right of a Facebook post. It’s been my experience that so many people hit that “share” button after reading only the headline.
And we often end up lying with what we share.
Most of the time, we don’t mean to. You’re moved by something or you feel such a strong connection, you share it immediately. I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it too.
We need to remember that we also live in a time where it is easier than ever to gain a wealth of information and facts. The internet contains more sources than we could have imagined finding twenty years ago. And we often carry internet access with us every waking hours.
So, I’m going to ask you to stop the lies. When something is shocking or fishy or strange or just seems off, check it out. Maybe don’t be like me and become nearly obsessed with a need to check EVERYthing…but Google it, look for reliable sources, read from a variety of news outlets, check for sources that corroborate each other. If you’re strapped for time, check Snopes or FactCheck or a similar site. Sometimes you will be surprised to find truth…and other times the lie will shock you.
Ultimately, you will be armed with truth. You will have all the tools you need to stop the lies.
And the world will be a better place for it.