LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “grandchildren”

First Lie

I still remember the first lie I ever told.

I grew up in a tiny farming community population 650. I was in the second grade and the class  consisted of about 28 students, so we were divided into two classrooms each with their own teacher. Although I am now foggy as to the exact nature of the issue, as best as I can remember it involved something of one the teachers turned up missing. At the end of the day each teacher addressed their students on the subject of honesty and asked for whatever was taken to be returned and there would be no questions asked.

When I got home from school I told Mom about the missing whatever, but I added something. I told her, as I was leaving school, the other teacher said, “Why don’t you return it? We know you took it.” What possessed me say that, I don’t have a clue. I don’t know if I was trying to show off, which is something I was known to do from time to time. I didn’t dislike the other teacher. Maybe I was just trying to inject a little drama into my small town, second grade life. Well let me tell you, drama I got.

My Mom was mad. Nobody messed with her one and only child, nobody. Who did this teacher think she was? She had no right to accuse me. She didn’t have any proof and besides it wasn’t true. For Mom, I was simply incapable of doing such a thing. In this case Mom was right. Later in life, however, I sorely abused my parents trust, but that is another story (and much, much longer). My Mom decided to call in the ultimate fire power, my Dad.

This was before the age of emails and cell phones. My Dad worked trimming trees underneath electrical lines for a rural power company and the only way to reach him was call his company’s office, leave a message, hope they would give it to him, and wait for him to call back. My Mom called and asked for the operator to notify my Dad to call her when he arrived back at the end of the day. This time the procedure worked like a charm, Dad called a few minutes before four o’clock. I heard Mom heatedly telling him the lie I told her and then lots of “hmms”, “that’s right”, and finally “sounds good to me.” When she got off the phone she said Dad was on his way to the school and would talk to the teacher and set this straight.

I broke out in a cold sweat.

I had never lied to my parents before. I had never even embellished the truth. I hadn’t told a white lie. I had never told a lie of any sort, for any reason, ever. Until now. Now I was sweating. I didn’t know what to do. I went outside. I walked around the yard. I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but probably something along the lines of wishing for a car to veer off the street in front of our house and run over me, or a plane to crash-land on me. Anything to get me out of this jam. I couldn’t think of a single way to get my butt out of what I had heard my Dad refer to as a “rock and a hard place.” Suddenly, I had a whole new appreciation for that phrase.

About an hour (seemed like an eternity) later my Dad drove up. Everyone at the school had been gone except the school secretary. Dad was one of those type of guys who only talked to those he had a problem with. If the next door neighbor’s son was a problem, Dad only discussed it with the son. The parents would never know. So when the teacher wasn’t in, Dad simply made an appointment to see her after school the next day.

I don’t know if this is when I first began to believe in a Higher Power answering the pleas of us sinners or not, but it had to be close. I would live and breathe for another day.

I ate dinner in a stupor. Rather than going outside to play, I went to my room. My bedtime was 8:00 pm, I was in bed, pretending to be asleep by 7:00. I didn’t know what to do and I couldn’t think of a single way to get out of this mess.

The next day I was a zombie at school. I had slept less than a couple of hours. I was exhausted, my insides had liquefied, I wasn’t talking to my friends, and I had no appetite. I was still hoping for the car or plane to hit me.

As I was dragging my self home wracking my brain for the 1,670,942,428 time, I had an epiphany. It was like in the midst of all the darkness a sudden spark of light erupted. I was in shock.

I would tell the truth.

I would tell Mom I lied, she could call Dad, Dad wouldn’t go and confront the teacher, and when he got home they would take turns beating my butt into bloody oblivion, but it was better than what I was currently feeling. I wanted physical pain. Especially if it would alleviate this internal hell I was going through.

I got home and before I kissed Mom, or threw my books on the bed, or asked for milk and cookies, I looked her in the eye, opened my mouth…and began to cry my eyes out. Tears shot out of my eyes like a horizontal water fountain, snot started running out my nose, and I began to shake all over.  God, why didn’t that car run over me? Mom was stunned (to say the least). She came across the room, bent down on one knee and pulled me into her. Let me tell you, there are few things in life that feel as good as your Mom hugging you, especially if you are a lying little snit and you wonder if your parents are going to kill you when you confess.

After cooing over me and getting a tissue out of her pocket (Momma was old school, she always carried tissues) to attempt to clean me up, she held me out at arm’s length, looked me in the eye, and asked in that soft southern draw, “Honey, its okay, what’s the matter?”

In between my sniffles and shaking I blurted out, “Momma, I lied! The teacher never said I took nothing!”

End of cooing, end of wiping tears from my face, end of soft voice, end of being on one knee. Mom jumped up and shot me “The Eye.” The one where you know you’ve done wrong and all that remains is your execution. I remember a flash going through my mind wondering if that would be the last time Mom ever hugged me (thank God it wasn’t).

Her voice was like ice-cold hardened steel cutting through warm tender flesh (to be read: my heart). Her eyes narrowed and through lips you couldn’t have pried apart with a crowbar she hissed, “I hope I can reach your Father.” and off she stomped to the phone. I went into the living room sat down and whimpered some more. God, I’m not doing this again I thought, no matter what. This is crazy, stupid and dumb. I hate feeling this way and it looks like I’ve got a long way to go before things start getting any better.

I don’t know how long it was before Mom came into the living room and said in the same hissing voice, “They got hold of your Dad, he is on his way home.”

I figured that would be when I would die.

Dad came home, we set down for dinner, and Dad talked about everything under the sun, except my lie. I picked at my food like a condemned man awaiting his final walk. Mom and Dad talked, I kept my eyes glued to my plate. After dinner Dad helped Mom in the kitchen and I went to watch TV with my eyes, while my ears stayed tuned to the low soft murmuring coming from them as they stood in front of the sink. I knew they were talking about me, but I couldn’t make out a word they were saying. Later they both came in and joined me in front of the TV. Nothing was  said to me, their son, the liar.

Next day, and the next, and the next, same thing. Dad came home, we did the family routine, and I did not get massacred.

On the following Saturday afternoon Dad and I were wrestling around on the living room floor. There was brief lull in our tumbling and goofing and he said, “You know Bud (he always called me Bud, don’t know why and he never said) you really ought not to lie.” I mumbled something back like, “OK” and we went back to rolling around, but my little seven-year old mind was reeling.

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

I’ve been spanked for traipsing into the kitchen with mud on my shoes. I’ve been set in the corner for bouncing a rubber ball off the side of the house. I’ve not been allowed to play outside with all my friends because I rode my bike off the sidewalk into a neighbor’s yard. But for telling my first biggest whopper ever in my young life, I’m told not to do it again?, while Dad holds me in his arms?

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

For four days of sheer terror, in which I thought the life I loved was going to end for all eternity I get told not to do it again.

Hmm, this is different. I’m going to have to think about this. To my pea brain this could only mean one thing.

Telling a lie wasn’t all that big of a deal.

I figured it was kind of important. But nothing like having mud caked on your shoes, while standing at the sink getting a glass of water, and the water somehow dripping down on your shoes causing the mud to turn into this kind of oozing dirty slime, or riding your bike a few feet into the stupid neighbor’s precious yard through her yucky flower beds. It wasn’t even as bad as bouncing a rubber ball off the asbestos siding on the house and chipping out a couple, or more, silly divots. Heck, if you were a few hundred feet away you could hardly see them.

Telling a lie wasn’t all that big of a deal.

That is what stuck in my seven-year old mind.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

First a few clarifications. I am not laying the blame for all the lies I’ve told in my life at the feet of my parents. Seeing as how my mind developed during my teen years, I am quite positive if they had sawed my tongue out with a rusty corroded razor blade, I would still have went on lying either by writing or conveying them via ASL. I would have found a way. I take full and complete responsibility for every deception, lie, and half truth (if there is such a thing) I have ever told. Nobody held a gun to my head.

Second, my parents would have been horrified at the way I have interpreted these events. This was never their intention, nor could they have ever imagined such an outcome. They were loving parents with a rowdy child. They had been married for thirteen years when I was born and I am an only child. So they were set in their ways, so to speak. They did everything possible to insure I had what I needed for a well-rounded life. It just took until I was in my late thirties for it to all take effect. I’m afraid I am a card-carrying member of  “The Late-Bloomer Association.”

I want to foster a conversation about why we start lying. Why did you start? Do you remember your first lie? What was it? How did it make you feel? Think about it and let me know. And if this is one of those things you don’t want the whole world (not that this blog has quite that large of a readership, but you never know) to know then send it to my email http://www.stephenedwards922@gmail.com and I will keep it private.

Again, thank you for reading these long posts. God, I wish I could write 300 words and they would hit like a sledgehammer, but I don’t think it will ever happen.

Be encouraged!

Before We Go Any Further

Stop Sign 2 Clip Art

PLEASE LOOK AT THE DAY & DATE

OF THE LAST POST

THEY DON’T MATCH

Here is my point…lying and believing are intertwined. Someone once commented they believed people wanted to hear a lie just as often as they wanted to be told the truth. While I”m not ready to whole-heartedly embrace that philosophy, I do believe there is a connection between lying and what we want to hear.

Do I believe there should be a NO LYING DAY? Absolutely. I would love to see the concept reported on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, the news wires, and go viral. What a great concept. The realty will probably fall far short.

Why? Because many of us are simply comfortable in our lies. It is where we live and work. Our lies are no more a distinct separate part of our existence. They are part and parcel of who we are. We have lived and breathed them for so long, that our lies feel like the truth, and the truth now feels as strange as lies once did.

We operate in a world that not only encouraged the use of falsehoods, but actually, it many respects rewards it. Whatever the reason for lying, we are masters at justifying it. All the way from “everybody does it” (which is probably true) to “it wasn’t REALLY a lie.”  If we want to, we can find an excuse.

I have received several emails and comments about this subject. Many writers were intrigued by the question of morality it raises, others were more interested in the philosophical underpinnings. There were writers who complained of my over-simplified explanation. The point is, the issue of lying, deserves to be a topic of conversation. It needs the light of us blog writers, the press, think tanks, TED talks, church groups, and folks sitting around having a few beers. In my heart I believe change bubbles up. Only when we the common folk, the 99%, the silent majority, or whatever it is we are going by now, rise up and say, “Wait a minute! This is an issue. Lets talk about it.”, we are going to continue to experience an erosion of truth it all its forms.

I hope this post causes you to think. After you think about lies, and truth, and the role you play in it, maybe you will talk. Start a conversation with a loved one, or your child, the neighbor, your pastor, those in your study group, or any one who is willing to listen. With all my heart I believe change bubbles up. And, just maybe, some day we really will have a day of NO LYING.

Be encouraged!

 

From Those Who Comment…

This post is purely inspired by those who commented on Lying–Maybe…Maybe Not.

Lem Usita writes at www.identityspecialist.wordpress.com. His post show a deft knowledge of leadership and how it ought to work. Her posts are filled with practical, rubber-meets-the-road type of information that I personally crave. I am the just-tell-me-what-to-do-and get out-of-the-way kind of guy, and Lem tells you what and how to do it. He wrote:

You bring up an interesting idea for me – this idea that lying takes on different forms depending on your stage of development – pick your developmental theory. I need to think about what a lie looks like in light of this. Do you have any articles that talk about this?
Thanks for the post.

I responded with:

Lem, first of all let me say how much I enjoy your posts regarding leadership. I would like to swap a few emails, or even a phone call or two , to discuss my experiences in leadership development at a Global 100 manufacturing firm. I think you’ll find the stories interesting.

Developmental theories are kind of like a bad haircut, everyone has had one, but their idea of what it is differs widely. Lying when we are younger is often seen as punishment avoidance. Q.-Did you spill the milk? A.-No way, the cat did it. As we age lying is the result of peer acceptance or is seen as a useful tool to gain something. Such as Q.-Hey Dad, can I have the car keys? A./Q.-Did you get your room cleaned like your Mom asked? A.-Yeah, pretty much (Reality-room looks like a bomb went off in it, but you told the guys it would be no problem getting your Dad’s car and promised to pick them up at 6:00). By the time you have graduated from college and entered the work force, the lies start to look more like CYA. Q.-Did you get the Jones Report done? A.-Yeah, you’ll have it on your desk when you arrive in the morning. (Reality-What the hell is the Jones report?)

If you look at Maslow and Metamotivation, is it possible we are seeking fulfillment of our Being Needs via lying through our teeth?

I don’t have any articles which speak directly about what I’ve written. However, I have pulled from Psychology Journals, books, magazines, newspapers, and friends who I have bombarded with questions, concepts, and theories. While sitting around having a few beers I have often pulled the topic of our conversation from whether the Yankees will pull it together to make another run for the pennant to when do our dreams become reality?

I drive my friends nuts, but as long as I’m buying, they seem to hang around. lol

My email is stephenedwards922@gmail.com. Give me a holler and maybe we can exchange phone numbers. By the way…what do you think…when do dreams become reality?

Another comment I received was from 5kidsmom. She writes at www.carnivalcommunications.wordpress.com. Her writing is clear, pure and cleverly insightful. I have always deeply enjoyed her thought process and delivery. Also in the interest of honesty; her and I have discovered we share remarkably similar, yet different perspectives, so we have agreed to collaborate on a book. She wrote th:

oh my….
>>>>>”Some men (not all, ;) have to lie about ‘WHY’ they lie!!<<<<<<
Rack ’em up boys!! Keep lying about why you’re lying, we’re listening LOL! What he doesn’t realize is….while little boys are lying to their mothers, (???FEAR??) little girls are being taught by their fathers, BOYS LIE!
Too late MacIntyre—-we’re onto you, and just like you, we started ‘getting it’, from a very young age!! That’s no lie ;) One more thing, boys lying to their Mom’s didn’t really make life easier, it probably just sparred them the consequences. So come on guys, you lie because you’re afraid of the wrath lol!

I responded:

Gosh, this lying thing has started our own little personal firestorm. Why? Well probably for two reasons. 1.) We all do it. We aren’t exactly proud of that fact. We don’t go around saying, “Alright! I just told another whopper!” Truth is we are ashamed. We are ashamed, because even after all we’ve been taught (programmed?) we still know it is wrong. 2.) We have all been lied to and it is frustrating. It hurts and we clearly understand the world (shoot, forget the world, even our little lives) would be a better place if everyone would stop.

Boys lie to girls, girls lie to boys, men lie to women, women lie to men, men lie to men, women lie to women, employees lie to bosses, bosses lie to employees, companies lie to customers, customers lie to companies, races lie to other races, nations lie to other nations, and I’m relatively confident if the human race ever encounters extra terrestrials, we will lie to them too.

So the bottom line is, “What do we do?”

This is too good for just a reply. I’m going to take this out and put it on the big screen. I will have a post forthwith, which will answer the question, “What do we do?”

WHAT DO WE DO?

Here is what I propose:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20,2012 IS A NO LYING DAY

START EMAILING YOUR FRIENDS & EVERYONE IN THE WORLD YOU KNOW! TELL EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH THAT WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2012 IS A NO LYING DAY. WE WILL TELL NO LIES FROM MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT.

NOW GO

BE ENCOURAGED!

Failure or Smarter?

This is an intriguing  book by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (and yes, I am leery of anything which proclaims to be New as well, but in her case I think it was probably the Marketing Dept. rather than her steadfast insistence) published by Random House, 2006, ISBN 1400062756. She begins her book with a confession of when she was a young researcher she had a LifeRevelation (obviously my interpretation). she wanted to know how people coped with failures, so she decided to watch how young students (10 -12 year olds) wrestled with difficult problems. Most students grunted, groaned, wrestled and literally sweated their way through (this is where I would have been). Others, however, displayed a completely different response. They got excited. They looked forward to the difficulty in solving the problems. They actually relished in the experience of trying to find the answer. The concept of failure never entered their minds.They perceived the challenge as being a learning experience. This wasn’t success or failure…it was learning. They were getting smarter.

Dr Dweck argues (quite convincingly I believe) that everyone holds one of two mindsets. One is that what she calls the fixed mindset. Those who hold this belief think your abilities and talents are etched in stone. In other words, you either have them or you don’t . You are either a great write or you or not…and there is no sense in trying to alter fate. You either can get up and speak to room full of strangers or you can’t and no amount of thinking they ae all sitting there in their underwear will change your fear.  The other is referred to as the growth mindset. This is the conviction that your talents and abilities can be increased over time. So while you may not be able to write well or speak in front of  an audience, you can with the right instruction and training develop the skills and confidence necessary to accomplish both.

Dr Dweck goes on to say these mindsets are created early in our childhood and then continue on throughout out lives. She portrays the subtle destructiveness of the fixed mindset as a lie, with the ability to dampen our lives in extraordinary ways. More importantly she demonstrates how applying the growth mindset can not only alter our  current lives, but lay the foundation for success early in children’s lives.

As I have worked to adopt her teachings I have discovered I hold onto some rather unique thought patterns. For instance, as a cyclist I believe I can get incrementally better with the right type of training. However, I feel completely incapable of learning to speak a foreign language. I believe I speak well before large audiences and can continually improve and hone my speaking craft. But trying to learn the ins and outs of working my laptop is frustrating and feels more akin to bashing my forehead on the desk in front of me.  So I have both fixed and growth mindsets.  I have learned this is not nearly as unique as I first believed. In fact, most of us fall into this category. There are things in life which come as natural as drawing our next breath. Meanwhile we also have those issues which cause us to wonder why we were ever been born.

Buy the book. Read the book. Learn how to change your mindset. Better yet, learn how to develop the growth mindset in your children or grandchildren.

Be encouraged!

Post Navigation