One of the first and most important things my mother wanted to instill in my brother and I was to always tell the truth, no matter what it is. She promised us if we told the truth we wouldn’t get into trouble. She said that telling a lie was worse than anything wrong we could possibly do. We believed her. When we did something wrong, our conscience would bother us and we went to her with the truth and promptly got yelled at and punished. When we protested that we told the truth so as not to get in trouble, she would answer “This is nothing compared to what I would have done had you lied.” Consequently, since we didn’t know how bad it could get, we still told the truth and took our punishments. Still it didn’t seem fair. And yet, I raised my own girls with that same line of thinking because it seemed to work for us. It also worked on my girls. I always told my girls the truth and expected the same in return. It was just understood.
Of course children don’t really understand how telling the truth is not just about being honest and forthcoming and owning your mistakes. They won’t fully understand how telling the truth builds trust in your relationships till years later. It’s hard to get that concept across at an early age. And, Lord knows, we want to be able to trust our children because they aren’t always going to be in our care 24/7. At some point they will go off to school and interact with others and things will happen. You want to be able to believe your child and trust that what they tell you is in fact the truth. It’s very hard to defend a child that is prone to lying, or to trust them to do the right thing. I think it was very wise of my mother to make telling the truth an important issue in our family, and it was a value we learned before setting foot in school.
As I grew up I have met and gotten to know many different people. I appreciate those who are straight shooters and tell the truth no matter what it might be. I feel like I can trust them and have confidence that if I ask them their opinion I am going to get the truth. Some people like to go around the bush before getting to the truth. I really never cared for that approach. Maybe they are trying to be tactful or sensitive, but sometimes their message is lost or watered down in all their finesse. I prefer that they deliver their message bluntly than tip toe around it trying to make it sound better. Others are just liars or they exaggerate the truth until it is unrecognizable. I don’t tolerate lies well. I would never trust someone who makes a habit out of lying or twisting the truth. They are being dishonest and untrustworthy and you really can never believe anything they have to say, so why bother continuing a relationship with them?
Another thing about telling the truth to someone is to consider your intentions. I always feel that if my intentions are good, then the person needs to know. I would feel terrible if I withheld information and something bad were to happen. I would feel responsible. I would rather the person were angry with me for telling them the truth, than for something bad to happen because they didn’t have all the information to consider. That is the personal rule I have used my whole life and so far no one has gotten angry with me.
The main thing I live by is “the truth always comes out.” It doesn’t even make sense to lie in the first place. You not only have to keep track of your lies and have a good memory, but in the end the truth will always reveal itself.