I know a little something about lying. When I was young my sister and I just had to get a taste of the Kool Aid, but it was on the high shelf of the cabinet and we were little tykes. But we were also crafty and put together a sort of climbing stool to reach our prize. And oh, that Kool Aid tasted really good when we finally got a taste. However, when I got back into position to return it to its place of prominence on the high shelf it slipped out of my hands and crashed down to the floor below. The top came off and a huge cloud of red smoke erupted from the canister and blanketed the floor.
And I lied about it. I told my mother it just slipped off the shelf, but she knew better. It didn’t help that my mouth and tongue were covered in tell-tale red Kool Aid. I was busted. Perhaps all kids have scenarios very similar to this, when they believe their lies are perfect and no one will ever find out. I’m not sure where it comes from, but those childhood lies usually come to light, and we get in even worse trouble for the lying than for what we lied about. Lexi is no different.
Me: Do you have any idea who that was on the phone?
Lexi: Um, yes. I think I do.
Me: Who was it?
Lexi: I think it was my teacher.
Me: And why would your teacher be calling me?
Lexi: Well, because, um, because…
Me: What didn’t you tell me? When I asked you what happened in your day?
Lexi: Well, I forgot about…
Me: You didn’t forget, Alexa. Did you think your teacher wouldn’t tell me?
Lexi: I actually did forget, though.
Me: And you didn’t think about it at all when I asked you earlier how your day went?
Me: So your teacher had to tell me that you hit another student?
Me: And then you spent your lunch in the principal’s office. You forgot that too?
Lexi: I forgot that too.
Me: No, you didn’t. You didn’t want to get in trouble.
Lexi: I wanted to watch my program.
Me: And you knew if you told me you wouldn’t be able to?
Me: So I can’t trust you now?
Lexi: You can trust me.
Me: Not if you’re going to start lying to me.
Lexi: I didn’t lie.
Me: It’s called a lie by omission. I asked you right out if everything was okay with your day and you told me yes. But everything wasn’t fine.
Me: Now, tell me why you hit the other student.
Lexi: The teacher didn’t tell you?
Me: I want to hear it from you.
Lexi: Well, I hit her because she jumped in line.
Me: She skipped you in line, so you felt it was right to hit her?
Lexi: It was my spot.
Me: So, what could you have done instead of hit her?
Lexi: I could have asked her to go back to her spot.
Me: So, it could have been avoided.
Me: And you could have avoided all this trouble at home too, first because you hit her, and second because you lied about it. Now we can’t trust you to tell us the truth.
Lexi: You can trust me. I’m sorry.
Me: No screen time for a week, and you will write an apology letter to the girl you hit. You will tell her in person that you’re sorry too. And you won’t lie to me or your mother again. That only makes it worse.
Lexi: I know.
Me: Trust is the most important thing you can have with other people. It’s hard to gain but easy to lose. You don’t want me to lose my trust for you, do you?
Lexi: No, I don’t.
Me: Then let’s start again right now. Maybe the lack of screen time will help you learn that lesson.