Thursday, March 28, 2013

Liar, Liar, Wait, Mama's Pants Really Aren't On Fire

So my son caught me in a lie the other day.  Not a big lie, but what we used to call "white lies" before we realized such a term was (a) racist by implying white was better than black and (b) minimizing/justifying our lying behavior.  In other words, it was a small lie designed to avoid hurting someone's feelings.

Technically, it wasn't a lie, but it was intentionally misleading. I opened my mouth to explain this important distinction to my five year old,  but for once I realized that teaching him the finer points of justification would likely bite me in the keister at a later date. See? I can grow, too.  I can exhibit foresight on occasion.

Here's what happened.  I was talking on the phone while driving home from the bank. I didn't have time or energy for a lengthy conversation, but I didn't say that.  What I said was, "I can't talk now, we are going to Speech." 

As soon as I hung up, Tiny Pants asked if we were on our way to Speech. I said we were going in about an hour. 

"Then why did you say on the phone that we were going to Speech now????"

Huh. Well, err, yeah. Well, because I wanted to get off the phone.  Several times that day he brought it up again, reminding me never to discuss anything secret like birthday presents or bank heists in front of him. Once that kid hears something he shouldn't he's like a pit pull. 

Luckily, my oldest child saved the day by way of a school handout on TACT.  That's right- I wasn't lying, I was being TACTFUL!  Awesome!  We had a lengthy conversation about tact, , which he swore he didn't need to care about because the paper said it was for use with children ages 9-11, and he is only 7. Still, I forced him to and we discussed the questions he was baffled by in school. 

Scenario :  Your friend has a new baby sister and you think it's the ugliest baby you have ever seen. When your friend asks, "Isn't she cute?" What do you say?

Big Pants: Mama, I have no idea. (He cherishes honesty and kindness very highly.)
Mama:  Just say she's tiny! 
Big Pants: MAMA! (exasperated, like I am so unhelpful!)
Mama: No, Like this:  Your friend says, "Isn't she cute?" And you say, "And tiny!" And your friend says, "And cute!" and you say, "And tiny!" See? You're just avoiding the question.
Big Pants: (falls on the floor laughing)

Apparently tact is hysterical, and apparently I forgot it even existed as a separate thing from lying. Thank God school saved my lying guilty behind...and good thing I'm not a home schooler.

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