Ah, children. The future of tomorrow…

Over the last year I’ve been volunteering for this amazing organization that once a month reads to kids in grades kindergarten through fifth. It’s a blast. I’ve met some great people and read some super fun books. Best of all, I’ve been given the opportunity to instill a love of reading into the hearts and minds of our country’s youngest generation. These kids are awesome. They love to laugh and learn. They love to be silly. They also love to lie. A lot.

A big part of the organization’s creed is to get the children involved in storytime. Engage them. Don’t just rattle off pages while the kids stare on dazed and confused. As I always have the kindergarteners, this is an absolute must. Losing a five-year-old’s interest is fatal to the reading experience. So I ask a lot of questions. Who has a dog? Who’s been to the ocean? Who can do a cartwheel? Things like that.

What I started realizing about two volunteer sessions in is that children always have to take it one step further. They don’t just have a dog. They have seventeen. They haven’t just seen the ocean. They’ve gone swimming with sharks. And yes, they can do a cartwheel. It’s a requisite for joining the circus, which they’ve been a part of for a few years now.

At first I’d humor them; after all, they’re just kids. Then I would give them a chance to revise their statement by innocently asking, “Have you really sailed around the world?” Instead of ‘fessing up and saying, “No, but I’d like to someday,” they just smile and nod emphatically. So you can’t spell your own name, but you’ve navigated the Straits of Magellan? Doubt it.

Of course I want to call them out and yell, “You’re lying!” but I can’t. That would be frowned upon. Yet at the very least I’d like to teach them a lesson or two on the finer points of lying properly. First of all, don’t be so obvious about it. You’re going to raise a few eyebrows if you claim you’ve been to the moon. Very few people have and definitely no one under the age of ten. Second, pick and choose your moments. If you tell me in the span of an hour that you’ve traveled to Antarctica, built your own airplane and survived an alien abduction, I’m gonna know something is up.

Lying is something we all do. Adults are just better at it; we’ve had years of experience to hone our skills. Take for instance the job interview. Who doesn’t tweak the truth a tad during this grueling exercise in proving your worth as a human being? Did you take a college class called Zombies in Popular Media because it sounded like fun? Then you had a minor in sociology. Were you in charge of ordering office supplies and employee birthday cakes at your last job? Then you were the Senior Operations Manager. It’s the truth… sort of.

Or try consoling a friend whose unrequited love has finally burst their bubble. We’ve all been there. Most likely the truth is that Mr. or Ms. Perfect just didn’t find your friend attractive/funny/smart, but they didn’t have the heart to say as much because that would be cruel. You can’t say it either because your friend agreed to give you a lift to the airport that weekend and you don’t want to pay for a taxi. So now you two need to “figure out” why he or she was rejected. This poor person who did nothing more than say, “I’m not interested,” is suddenly under intense scrutiny regarding every facet of his or her life. Ipso facto, this person has intimacy issues. Or he’s intimidated by strong, independent women. Or she subconsciously sabotages healthy relationships because of poor self-image. Two hours into the conversation and you’re still trying to pinpoint the exact moment during Mr. Perfect’s childhood that the mommy issues began.

We lie for various reasons. Sometimes we do it to give ourselves a boost. Sometimes someone else needs that boost a bit more. And while we’ve all heard the saying, “Honesty is the best policy,” no one ever mentions how much grief it can cause should you abide by such a policy. Take that saying to heart and you’ll have no job and no friends real fast.

So listen up, kids of America. Take it from someone who knows. Your future’s not gonna be so bright if you keep up with these ridiculous lies. You haven’t actually teleported through time or won an Academy Award. Just not possible. Saying that you’re in talks about an indie film, now that I might believe… See the difference?

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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7 Responses to “Out Of The Mouths Of Babes”

Hahaha. So true, but I can’t deny that I was that kid. It came with my vivid imagination. And that’s awesome that you volunteer. Sounds like a great program!

February 17th, 2011

Thanks, Robb! I know… I remember telling some pretty outrageous lies myself as a kid. Show & Tell in particular was an outlet for my most creative fabrications. 😉

February 17th, 2011

I love lying. So fun. 😉

February 17th, 2011


February 17th, 2011

Well, just to let you know I have been to the moon, I have sailed around the world and I have seventeen dogs. 🙂 Ha!

February 18th, 2011

I love you so much! I almost choked on my coffee reading that! 🙂

February 18th, 2011

LOL!!!! 🙂

February 20th, 2011