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Look me in the eye and lie

The Malakoff News of Malakoff, Texas

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Escapades of Emily

TRINIDAD — When I was a high school teacher, one remark from a parent made my muscles tense. "My child will not lie to me." Someone else might say, "My child cannot look me in the eye and lie."

There surely are children who live up to these standards. I never knew many. If there are consequences on the way, I've seen three-year olds say "no," when it should be "yes."

We probably all lie, especially to a dear mother who wants to know how her hair looks or her house smells. I saw hurting feelings worse than using words carefully to tell the truth. A cartoon comes to mind of Abraham Lincoln's wife asking him if the dress she is wearing makes her look fat. I've seen and heard children lie all my life. My daughters say I taught them how. Dad wanted his children to look nice, to attend school, but not be trendsetters-thank goodness-just decent and able to fit in with the crowd.

But Dad didn't want any money spent accomplishing this. I became a sale finder of the utmost expertise. I could smell a sale. One afternoon I took the daughters to a store where I thought I could afford a few items for their closet. When we returned home, Dad was there in the living room.

"Now girls, don't walk through the living room. Go through the back and to your bedroom to hang your things up. I didn't lie. Had Dad asked if our trip was successful, I probably would have said, "Yes, but I couldn't afford all we wanted." The truth.

Soon the girls had part-time jobs or I would find a shirt or two for them or their brothers and boldly come into the house. One girl became negative to sale items. I cut off the tag. The younger one couldn't care less.

I thought I was teaching non-conflict in the home. But I would never say, "My child won't lie." Maybe we had one who wouldn't, but we had others who could.

Once, one of our sons was driving a jeep with an older student sitting next to him. A friend of theirs was running for training on the side of the street with mud puddles everywhere. The older student grabbed the wheel to splash the friend, went too far, and the runner suffered a broken collar bone. Our child said he was not to blame. "Were you behind the wheel?" I screamed in exasperation.

Another time I smelled beer on the breath of a 16-year-old of mine at home. The excuse was "mouthwash." I didn't believe this, and my child knew it.

The next day the child admitted it and apologized. But I knew my life was going to change rather rapidly.

A student lied to me once with his good friend lying for him. Both were believed, but I had seen the foul. Before graduation for both that year, the good friend wrote me an apology. That felt good.

But it was sad, and here nearly twenty years later, I still remember "once in a blue moon."

Copyright 2016 The Malakoff News, Malakoff, Texas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: July 8, 2016

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