Having posted the blog Their Truth I’ve been thinking about it, about lying, and it made me think of of my childhood.
I don’t want to burden anyone in reminiscing, only to make a point or two.
I never lied to my mother as a child or an adult – I did in fact though to my father as a very real probability existed in his perpetual drunken state that if he didn’t hear exactly what he wanted to hear a serious beating would follow – though that was usually the case truth or lie, but hope sprang eternal.
I’d guess I was maybe six or seven when that reality dawned on me and the lie was seen for being the useless artifact it was, and so I never lied to him again and carry more than one scar resulting from both approaches.
I think it was about the same time I quit wanting my father to love me, quit wondering why he didn’t, quit wondering if I had two heads or some egregious shortcoming and took him at face value.
My fathers sole excuse for all things was he was a victim of the reservation system – there is a truth in that in as much as everyone on the rez is a victim, the difference being that he was a victim victimizing other victims, and leads me to believe he would have blended in well in an AIM leadership role.
As an adult now I sometimes when thinking about it take myself to task about ever having lied to him in the first place, a “survial skill” that hadn’t much value- wishing instead I would have been more of a “man”.
But what is done is done and I don’t lose any sleep over it.
I also at times wish I would have had the opportunity to inflict some of the same damage on him that he did on others, but that’s also done and over with and I don’t entertain the thought or lose sleep over it either.
No matter how hard he tried to convince or justify it’s difficult for a child to see fault in something they may have done when no fault existed, as an adult I accept responsibility for what I say or do, but I won’t when it isn’t deserved.
My father always reacted out of anger, an alcohol fueled rage,and I think some parents do as well, anger that is.
That and fear maybe, like the fear when a child does something that might endanger them and they go off on the child, perhaps even “discipline” them.
Neither are a viable reason, and that’s something all parents should think about.
Parents should realize as well that a child is often capable of understanding more than they are given credit for, will respond and observe if told something is dangerous or a behavior isn’t acceptable- that they are part of a unit, a family, a community, with age appropriate responsibilities.
There’s a middle ground to all things, a middle ground that doesn’t exist when children are dominated, fearful, or given a freehand and assume control of the home environment….when a child is afraid to speak the truth or lies because they think that is what an adult wants to hear.
Children need to be allowed to be children, they’ll become adults soon enough.
An adult that for some will in large part reflect the negative values they were taught, the negative examples that were set.
If it weren’t for the values taught and examples shown by my mother and other women and men associated with the family I might well have wound up like my father, that’s another thought I don’t care to entertain.
I think it’s reasonable to expect adults to act in a more responsible manner than children, that isn’t always the case though, and few could argue that adults having more experience in the mere act of living are considerably more adept at lying than a child is.
That the consequences for an adults misdeeds can be incrementally more severe – enter the lie, the coverup.
It’s infinitely more difficult for an adult to offer a defense that someone made them do it – such a defense is seldom viewed as viable when offered by children, no more so than that everyone else was doing it thing.
Expectations are higher for adults, and they should be, as it is adults that make the decisions that basically rule the world, the home, work sites, the marketplace, and every other facet of society.
That being the way of it how can any excuse offered by a child be seen as viable when posed by and adult?
Someone made them do it? Really? Or others were doing the same?
An adult, any adult who would attempt to mount such a defense with isolated exceptions or even consider it viable probably at the very least belongs in a group home if they actually believe it.
The reality is when push comes to shove they know it isn’t an excuse or alibi, they may not admit that but see it as something else to throw against the wall hoping it will stick – thinking I suppose that the more excuses offered the odds are enhanced some wiggle room will be found or enough confusion will result the spotlight on them will dim.
Seems to me that as adults our expectations of peers should at a minimum equal our expectations of children…but who knows, maybe that’s an abstract concept.