LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “lying”

Like

http://rwconnect.esomar.org/2012/01/17/why-i-hate-like/

Like is a concept I have wrestled with for the greater part of my life. Not that I don’t understand the meaning of the word, I do. It is trying to get a grasp on the whole concept that keeps me somewhat mystified.

I once watched an eight year old boy walk into a room with other boys and girls, all around his age. A total of maybe nine or ten were gathered in the room. The gender split was roughly equal. Some were no doubt a little younger and others were older, but there was no huge age discrepancy. Before this young man entered,  a couple were off playing by themselves, but most were gathered around two or three boys. They were laughing and talking and all seem to be at ease with one another.

Maybe at this point I should interject that these were not ordinary kids, they were all models and each one of them had been modeling for several years. They were out-going and completely comfortable making new acquaintances. When the eight year old boy I mentioned earlier entered the room the entire dynamics changed. Within a few short minutes every child was grouped around the eight year old and he was laughing and talking to them. He had established total control over the room. Even the couple of strays were brought into his sway.

As I witnessed this transformation I was dumb struck. He wasn’t dressed any differently. He did not possess a commanding voice, he was only eight. He didn’t say, “Hey you all, come over here.” Actually his demeanor was kind of shy. Yet every child gravitated to him. CEOs would pay dearly for his ability to command the room. What made this child so immediately likable?

This happened over thirty years ago and at times I still ponder what transpired in the room. What hidden talent, or mojo, or vibe did that eight year old boy possess that drew every one of those children to him like a magnet draws iron filings?

There is a new book published earlier this year by John Wiley & Sons, Inc entitled Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action. The author is Rohit Bhargava. His writings have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Fast Company, NPR, and MarketingChina.  His first book was Personality Not Included and has been translated into nine languages. For kicks and giggles he is Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. So apparently the brother is extremely gifted in time management.

I haven’t completely finished the book yet, nor has he provided me with a complete understanding of the episode I witnessed thirty years ago, but I have read enough to realize he and I share many of the same convictions…only he writes much better than I do.

One of the first concepts he establishes is there is a real ROI on likeability He goes on to establish five key principles:

Truth

Relevance

Unselfishness

Simplicity

Timing

Yea, if you take each of the first letters it spells TRUST. At first I thought it bordered on hokie, and kind of still do, but it makes it easy to remember and drives home a very excellent point. His argument being if you are likeable then people will trust you. Being trust-worthy is the real key to standing out from the competing hoards.

I experienced this earlier this today. Susie and I are launching a new company. We are developing the content for a supremely radically different Women’s Professional Development Conference. We are incorporating acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, magicians, shadow puppeteers, drama, contortionists, unicyclists, laundry dryers, and Barbie dolls into a power packed day long seminar that will leave women feeling Stronger, Better, & Ready For Whatever in their professional and private lives.  Remember, I told you it was supremely radically  different. 

This afternoon I received a phone call from an international motivational speaker who (somehow) had heard about what we are doing. He was extremely impressed as I discussed our concepts and business plan with him. So much, that by the end of the conversation he said he wanted to mentor us and help take our message to the international market.

Our team is floored…to say the least. We never expected anything like this. We were thinking about how to take our message state-wide. He expanded our entire vision with just one phone call.

Now segue to later this evening. I RSVP’ed for a meeting of life coaches. This will be their first time meeting so everyone was encouraged to give a brief bio of themselves and their company. I wrote almost verbatim (plus some extra for more detail) what I wrote above. I described how our content empowered women to truly make changes in their lives. To be more successful and stretch their ideas of what was possible.

The response I received was this:

Is this a joke or what?

I guess I need to cultivate my believability more.

I’m going to go read another chapter.

Be encouraged!

Insightful Humor

I found this lovely little comic at http://tadams4u.wordpress.com/. While it made me laugh enough to snort, I also felt it sums up how we all feel at times.

Be encouraged!

The Wall Street Journal & Me

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-astonished-businesswoman-reading-newspaper-image13499072

I knew there would be a day when it would finally happen. In my mind I had thought/seen/dreamt about it many times. Usually when I was in that half awake/half asleep semi conscious state in the morning before I roll out of bed to take our rescue Husky Callie out for her 2.6 mile morning walk/trot/run when she sees wildlife adventure.

In my mind’s eye I could see myself picking up the Wall Street Journal at the local gas station/snack shop, like I do every morning, and casually turning to the Review section where I would unfold the newspaper and gaze with misty eyes, and a burgeoning sense of pride, at the one inch headline with a sharp clear black/white photo. The photo would perfectly encapsulate the intellectual weight of the article, accompanied with the byline Stephen Edwards…always in bold.

Well it didn’t turn out exactly that way. In fact, it wasn’t even close. But they did have an article about the same subject I’ve written about, which is probably as close to getting a piece in the Wall Street Journal as I will ever get.

The article is entitled, “Why We Lie”, (Saturday/Sunday, May 26-27, 2012) and it is written, not by me, but by Dan Ariely. I have no idea where they found Mr. Ariely at (according to the WSJ he is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavior Economics at Duke University. Tell me there isn’t more than one way to skin the cat.). I figure he was Plan B.  My post Lying-Maybe…Maybe Not was published on April 14th. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m thinking that is about the time my cell phone battery went dead. I’m surmising they (WSJ) read my post, were blown away by my depth and insight into the human psychic, tried to call, couldn’t reach me, then in a moment of panic (which I am sure they now regret) got hold of this southern yahoo from Duke.

I do have to give Mr. Ariely his props though, although he was obviously Plan B, he did do a fairly decent job of throwing together some interesting facts and supporting data. For instance, his overall nutshell conclusion is, “Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats–just by a little.” Which is kind of the problem. Because when you have nearly everybody cheating a little, that adds up to a lot.

He did all kinds of fancy studies and found out that people will increase their cheating/lying when; others around them cheat/lie, thinking others benefit from your cheating/lying, and (this one put a smirk on my face)…knowingly wearing knock-off fashions. The last one seems to kind of open the door a crack to cheating/lying. The idea being, “What the hell, it is such a small thing.”

Now on the positive side Mr. Ariely did discover one thing that seems to cause folks to curb their larcenous tendencies one hundred percent of the time; when participants were told to think about the Ten Commandments or swear on the Bible with their right hand, they completely ceased from cheating/lying. Interestingly even when the participants identified themselves as self-declared atheists, when asked to swear on the Bible, their cheating/lying dropped to zero. Seems like being reminded of a moral code had a significant effect on their behavior.

The article is adapted from Mr Ariely’s forthcoming book, “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves” to published by HarperCollins on June 5. He goes on to demonstrate the devastating effects of the everybody-cheats/lies-a-little syndrome has on our society. He closes with a paragraph I am reproducing here in full, because I believe it is an excellent summation of what I have been trying to talk about for some time:

“We want to install locks to stop the next Bernie Madoff, the next Enron, the next steroid-enhanced all-star, the next serial plagiarist, the next self-dealing political miscreant. But locking our doors against the dishonest monsters will not keep them out; they will always cheat their way in. It is the woman down the hallway–the sweet one who could not carry away your flat-screen TV if she wanted to–who needs to be reminded constantly that, even if the door is open, she cannot just walk in and “borrow” a cup of sugar without asking.”

Lying and cheating have become so commonplace, it is difficult not to encounter it everywhere; the doctor who pads with extra treatments, the bank that takes an extra day to process your check, the mispriced items at Wal-Mart (always in their favor), the inability to return an item without a receipt (even when they can look up the transaction on their computers), the “I’ll be there in a minute” reply”…it just goes on and on.

I still wonder what would happen if we had a Occupy Truth Movement. Susie and I are starting a new business and we are using the tagline “Do It Right” as our vision statement…maybe it should be “Do It Right, No Matter What.” We interested to see what will happen as we decide to not fudge anything. Everything will be transparent…from our salaries, to the amount of money the company generates, to what the money gets spent on, to how we conduct the day-in-day-out business operations. It will be an adventure…and of course, I promise to document it here.

Be encouraged!

They Smile In Your Face

http://www.cfoinnovation.com/content/how-make-office-politics-work-you

They Smile In Your Face

In the corporate world there is a word used to describe a most unpleasant event. According to a survey of 250 advertising and marketing executives, conducted by The Creative Group, an advertising and marketing staffing company, over 50% had the dubious honor of experiencing this nefarious act. I suspect that among the rank and file the actual percentage would be even higher. During my own tenure in the corporate world I faced it often. The R & B group, The O’Jays had their first million dollar hit with a song about it:

What they do

They smile in your face

All the time they want to take your place

the backstabbers

We are talking backstabbing. The practice of criticizing someone without their knowledge while feigning friendship and fidelity to their face. Some take great pleasure in their ability to deceive. They feel empowered and talk about how they were able to “take out” the competition. Others are quieter, they operate on the fringe and in the shadows. They appear as friends, but it is just a ruse to cover their true intentions.

And it’s not only in the workplace, but also in our homes, our marriages (who would have thought?), our children, our families, our schools, our friends, our civic organizations, our politics (boggles the mind doesn’t it?), and our churches. The truth is backstabbing has become a part of our culture. It is a factor of our lives. We literally can not find an area that has not suffered from backstabbing.

What makes this so painful for the victim is the violation of trust and confidence. This betrayal of trust can be so acute that Jennifer Freyd first coined the phrase “betrayal trauma” back in 1994 to describe the effect on the victim. Since she first used this phrase an entire theory has been developed and put forth that defines the inner workings of the brain when an individual has been backstabbed and the attending psychological backflips the person initiates to shelter themselves from the mental pain.

Like most, I’ve been victimized more times than I care to think about. But, I am not the type of person who wants to throw up a number of defensive actions to protect myself from future backstabbing. I’m cautious, I don’t want to be stabbed again, but I’m not focused on making sure all my bases are covered either. Plus I don’t want hold people at length. This world already has enough of that. I want to be open. If I’m going to error, I want it to be on the side of grace.

Without picking at old wounds, tell me how you deal with it. Are you still trusting? What are you doing to insure you are not victimized again? Is it hard to trust? As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Be encouraged!

A Personal Story

http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Depressed-Man-Sitting-in-Dark-Room-Posters_i8654375_.htm

A Personal Story 

Let me tell you a personal story.

Several years ago a friend of mine was driving me someplace. I don’t remember where, and it doesn’t matter. We were laughing and talking about who knows what. Probably the kind of things men talk about when it is only men, which means sex. It was a perfect summer day. The sky was crystal blue without a cloud from horizon to horizon and the sun was warm, but not hot.

As he was driving he began to steer the car toward the curb and decrease his speed. Since I was always on the alert, due to the kind of life I was living, I immediately began to evaluate the situation. I know he sensed the rising tension within me, because his next words were, “Relax Steve, I only want to ask you one question.”  I still wasn’t entirely convinced, but this was my best friend. He knew all about what I did to earn my seven-figure a year income, because he was my right-hand man in the organization I had built. While I always kept at least a few things to myself as insurance, he knew enough, and was as deeply involved as I was, which was a kind of insurance in and of itself. Of course there was always the threat he might want to take the quick route to the top of the food chain, but I didn’t believe he had it in him to pull the trigger, at least not at close range in the front seat of his car. Nonetheless, it was always good to be cautious, so my right hand inched slowly to the inside of my jacket.

When the car had come to a stop, he reached over and shut off the engine. The stereo died and all I could hear was the rush of traffic along the freeway and my heart beat, pounding a mile a minute. He shifted his weight in the seat and turned to face me. The look on his face is still crystal clear in my mind over three decades later, as I heard him ask,

“Steve, don’t you think it would have been better for all of us, if you had never been born?”

I felt like all the oxygen had suddenly been sucked out of the car. There was a ringing in my ears, more than likely from the sudden surge of adrenaline. I was engulfed in the most complete silence I have ever experienced. I no longer heard the cars as they whizzed by. Nor did I hear the birds chirping in the nearby trees. It was just the ringing and the vast silence.

I don’t recall what I stammered out, but his question hit the mark. I carried that question with me. During quiet moments I would take it out and think about it. What was my worth? Why am I alive? What is this thing we flippantly refer to as life? What am I doing here? Why am I here?

It would be many more years before I would have my “life revelation” and find the answer to those questions.  Those were dark years. Not that I didn’t learn from them, I did. But I learned the hard way.

Now I am far removed from the events of those years. I have created an entirely different person from the one who lived in those times. One of my readers once wrote and said I was “plagued” by my past. I’ve given considerable thought to that sentiment. I believe the reader is/was wrong. I am not “plagued” by the choices I once made. I am well aware of them and the impact they had on me and others at the time.  But the operative word in the last sentence is “had.” No longer am I governed by those actions. I have a deep passion to help others find their True Path in life. I have discovered we only get a set number of years and wasting them by floundering around seeking our direction is counter productive to what we want to accomplish.

But plagued? No way! I have triumphed over that life! I have come out on the other side victorious! I did so with the patience and love of the one I am now married to. She saw the possibilities. She had/has the faith.

This post is difficult to end. I don’t have a nice and tidy wrap-up. I am not inclined to rally the troops and lead you in any type of charge. I just want you to know if your love is filled with drama, more or less it doesn’t matter, there is hope. You can change. I can show you how.

Or if you have that person in your life who no matter what you do, they never change. You have poured time, money, effort, prayers, and everything else you could think of into their lives and they never change. I can tell you not to give up hope. There is and always will be the possibility, even up to and including the moment they draw their last breath, that they can change.

I know…I use to be one of them.

I am always available to talk…stephenedwards922@gmail.com or 812-314-1358.

Be encouraged!

 

Virtue #2 – Accountability

The above poster was found at http://tradingphrases.com/Definition-Designs.html

Accountability is nothing more than taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions. If you did it, own up to it.

Sounds all nice and easy doesn’t it? Pretty much one of the first things our parents try to affect deeply into our young impressionable brains. It is one of the few bedrock beliefs we all seem to agree on.

Then why isn’t it happening?

Probably all sorts of reason, but the one that strikes me from personal experience is…it is hard to do.

Several years ago when I was new to the world of manufacturing I carried a tub of parts to the mainline assembly area. As a member of management I was not “officially” supposed to do that. It was my job to make sure the parts got there…not actually do it. So when I was on my way to a meeting at the other side of the plant and happened to glance over and see the guy in the process running out of a particular part I should have reached for my radio, found the appropriate channel, called the assembly line Team Leader, told him the issue (always issue, never problem), then he would have called the Team Leader in Material Handling, he would have called an Assistant Team Leader in Material Handling, who then would have found the person responsible for delivering parts to this particular process, told the associate about the issue, and then that associate would have delivered the tub of parts the twelve feet to the process guy. Instead I picked up the tub of parts and carried them to the process, but because I was in a hurry (I was always in a hurry) when I went to set the parts down, instead of setting them all the way down on the workbench I dropped them then last foot or so. When the tub hit the workbench, one of the metal parts jumped up and struck me in the corner of my nose. I felt it, but I didn’t think too much about it. Besides I had a meeting I needed to get to and I was seriously getting worried about being late and with this company the very first thing they told you, after there would be no discussions of unions, was to never, ever, never be late for a meeting.

Then it happened.

Another manager came running up to me with this look of horror and asked, “Steve, what happened?” Immediately I knew I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t just explain what happened, because it would it mean I had broken one of the rules and I like I said I was still new at the company…so to buy some time while my mind raced like a frazzled bunny in front of a Hummer, I said with as relaxed smile on my face as I could muster, “What do you mean?” She gasped back, “My God look at yourself, you’ve got blood everywhere.”

At this point I should explain I tend to bleed from any wound on my head like a stuck pig, as the saying goes. Yes, I understand all head lacerations tend to bleed more than when they are inflicted on other parts of one’s anatomy, but I spout blood like Mt St. Helens spouts ashes.

So I look at myself…and even I am a little frightened. My shirt is literally soaked in bright red blood. Now the wheels in the old brain are really turning. No more frazzled bunny, I am nearing freakout stage. I stammer, “Uhhhh, I don’t know.”

Yes that is what I said.

She says we got to get you to Med-Check (the in-plant emergency care facility). I think, “Christ there goes my meeting.”

But wait it gets better.

As she is hustling me across the plant to a qualified health care provider, we round a corner and there stands the Plant Manager. Now the Plant Manager is a man who, rumor has it, could break brass balls with his stare. One look at me and he breaks into a jog (this is remarkable because behind his back, off property, in sealed rooms, we would call him Sloth, because of the rate of speed which he usually moved through the plant at).

Here comes the question.

“Steve, what happened?”

I am doomed. Sweet Jesus! I had imagined such a good career with this company.

Again my brain can produce no better reply than, “I don’t know.”

His eyes peer like laser beams from underneath his bushy eyebrows. They lock onto mine, I find it impossible to turn away. He says, “Get his ass to Med-Check before he bleeds to death and I have to fill out even more paper work.”

They didn’t fire me, nor did they order any psychological exams, because they were concerned they had hired an idiot. Years later (when I was considerably more secure in my career with the company) I confessed to the female manager and the Plant Manager what had actually happened. The Plant Manager roared with laughter and then said, “Yeah, you damn fool I watched the whole thing from the other side of the line.”

Be accountable, while it may be painful at the time, people will respect you more. Maybe, more importantly, you will respect yourself more.

Be encouraged!

Virtues…I Think

Recently I’ve given a lot of thought to what our society and culture holds in esteem. I’ve written several posts about how we now accept lying as part of our daily living. From the traditional used car sales person huckstering for every additional warranty and  loan percentage they can get to the added procedures ordered by doctors, to the average sales clerk in Barnes & Nobles who has been trained to focus on add-on sales. I have written about how and why we need to return to truth. But there are other aspects I’ve neglected. I’ve been wondering in this digitized age what has become of virtues? I have wanted to write a post about virtues for some time now, but I’ve run into a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, cloaked in a conundrum.

Everyone has their own view of what is a virtue. Such as;

  • Four Cardinal Virtues, as illustrated above, left to right – Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, and Justice.
  • Nine Noble Virtues – Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self Reliance, Industriousness, and Perseverance.
  • Five Biblical Virtues – Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, and Patience.
  • Seven Wisdom Virtues – Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility.
  • Ben Franklin had thirteen – Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, Humility.
  • Seth Godin’ s new book Wisdom, Inc. says there are 26, but here are the first 10 – Attention To Detail, Balanced Lifestyle, Fearlessness, Grace Under Pressure, Hard Work, Initiative, Persistence, Intelligence, Responsibility, Self Motivation. 
  • VirtueScience.com tries to cover all the bases with – Acceptance, Accountability, Ambition, Assertiveness, Beauty, Benevolence, Bravery, Caring, Charity, Chastity, Caution, Cleanliness, Commitment, Compassion, Confidence, Consideration, Contentment, Cooperation, Courage, Courtesy, Creativity, Curiosity, Defiance, Dependability, Detachment, Determination, Devotion, Diligence, Discernment, Discretion, Discipline, Eloquence, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Faith, Faithfulness, Flexibility, Focus, Forbearance, Forgiveness, Fortitude, Friendliness, Frugality, Generosity, Gentleness, Grace, Gratitude, Helpfulness, Honesty, Honor, Hope, Humbleness, Humility, Humor, Idealism, Integrity, Impartiality, Industry, Innocence, Joyfulness, Justice, Kindness, Knowledge, Liberality,Love, Loyalty, Magnanimity, Majesty, Meekness, Mercy, Moderation, Modesty, Obedience, Openness, Orderliness, Patience, Peace, Perseverance, Persistence, Piety, Prudence, Punctuality, Purity, Purposefulness, Reliability, Resoluteness, Respect, Responsibility, Restraint, Reverence, Righteousness, Selflessness, Self Sacrifice, Service, Sensitivity, Silence, Simplicity, Sincerity, Sobriety, Spontaneity, Steadfastness, Strength, Tact, Temperance, Thankfulness, Thrift, Tolerance, Toughness, Tranquility, Trust, Trustworthiness, Truthfulness, Understanding, Unity, Vitality, Wisdom, Wonder, Zeal.

Everybody from Aristotle to the conservative pundit William Bennett, to internet guru Seth Godin, to the local pastor I have breakfast with occasionally has had their idea of what is and in some cases, what isn’t a virtue.  If you Google search “virtues” you find 6,790,000 results. Not bad, certainly enough reading to keep one occupied at the pool for the summer.

Every virtue listed is a good one. If I could nail even one, I could die a happy man. In the face of this deluge of virtues I am going to pick out one a week  from http://www.VirtueScience.com and write a post about it. It will be published each Monday…think of it as setting the internal compass for the week. I’ll go in alphabetic order so you will know what is coming. BTW…if you counted…or if you care…there are 119.

Along the way, swamp my in-box with comments. I am anxious to know what you think.

Be encouraged!

Readers

 

After publishing “It’s Late & I’m Tired” I was preparing to close my files and go home, when I noticed I had received one email. When I clicked on it I found this blog. Kris, a makeup artist, and several of her associates were the victims of an apparent plagiarism by a competitor.  I found it interesting to read and felt it only highlighted (like we all don’t have hundreds of examples in our lives) what I’ve been saying.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Be encouraged!

It’s Late & I’m Tired

This afternoon while listening to the local NPR station, I heard a remark about how we elect politicians that got to me to thinking.

When we vote, all we do is pull a lever. On the new computerized voting machines we simply point. It is not  much of an effort. In reality, it is quite simple, which is a good thing. It does not require a manual. Nor do we need to be supervised by anyone. In other words, the learning curve is relatively flat.

However, this easy to do, modest action, when done by enough of us, is so powerful it elects the President of the Unites States. When we band together on a certain day and all do a single function, the result is we either elect a new president or confirm the current.  That is power.

This got me to thinking about other areas of life outside of politics. For those of you who have read my last few blogs, you know I have been discussing lies and Truth. What if we applied this meek, unassuming principle to Truth? Instead of voting, we all did something else…like told the Truth for one day.

Could one day make any difference?

Lets look at some facts about the 2008 election…

131,257,328       Voted for one of the Presidential candidates

169,000,000     Registered voters

201,500,000     Eligible to be voters

83.8%                     Of those who could register to vote did

77.6 %                   Of registered voters who did vote

Now lets veer off in another direction.

Following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in 2010 a firestorm has swept across Northern Africa and the Mid-East. Corrupt and dictatorial governments have fallen. Estimates of between 42,000 – 52,000 people have been killed. They are dying for change. People are simply no longer willing to accept the status quo.

Stay with me as we make another turn.

The Occupy Movement has started, sputtered, started, and sputtered again. Inspired (in part) by the Arab Spring, the Canadian activist group Adbusters wanted to focus the world’s attention on social and economic inequality. They adopted the tag, “We Are the 99%.” Their latest attempt in changing the world is to call for a general strike on May 1, 2012.

So why this meandering text? I’m trying to demonstrate that if a few are willing to bind together for a cause it can grow into something of incredible power.

So how does it apply to this blog?

Don’t accept lies anymore. When people begin to lie, stop them and say, “Please, just tell me the Truth.”

Does all of this seem naive? More simpleton than simple? Might you be wondering if I’m not taking this Truth thing too far? Perhaps thinking I’m staring at the computer screen far too long?

Possibly…but someone, somewhere, sometime decided enough was enough. It is time for a change. Several of my posts have ended with a huge rallying cry as my attempt to motivate the masses…but not this time…its late and I’m tired…I’m hoping a couple of you are actually reading this and not hitting the “LIKE” at the top of the page, then the “DELETE” key…and just maybe one or two will say, “You know he may be a little weird, but he’s right…let’s tell the Truth today and see what happens.

Be encouraged!

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.

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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!

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