Fredericksburg Features

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Hopefully, child cannot tell a lie again



A CERTAIN elementary student I know got in trouble last week in school.

Then he got in even bigger trouble at home because he didn’t tell the truth.

And because this little fella told a bald-faced lie to his father, he was grounded for a week. He couldn’t visit his friends, go to a birthday party or play video games.

I won’t embarrass him by saying his name, but let’s just say the “boy” slipped on the playground, then a dirty word slipped from his mouth. Kids told on him, and he got sent to the assistant principal’s office.

As soon as the boy got home from school, he told his dad he’d gotten in trouble.

But—and this is a really big “but”—he told his father the kids who tattled were the ones who lied. He insisted he said “shoot” after he fell and hurt his ankle.

His father listened and repeated back what his son said. Several times, he asked if he was hearing the complete—and correct—story, and each time the boy said he was.

Then, the father read the note the teacher sent home. In it, she said the boy admitted to the cuss word.

The look on the boy’s face changed—and so did the reaction of his father.

All of a sudden, the boy was in deep shoot.

After the incident, his father stressed repeatedly that the boy got in more trouble for lying than for the deed itself. He kept asking his son why he would feel compelled to lie, and the boy said he didn’t want his dad to be mad or disappointed in him.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Lying is bad stuff, worse than any playground offense. It’s a flaw in character, as awful as stealing, and this little boy needs to learn that the best thing to do is own up to what you’ve done and accept your punishment.

Because, as we’ve all seen more times than we can count, the truth usually comes out.

Whether it’s a matter of which word was uttered on the playground or what inappropriate behavior was committed by—take your pick—an athlete or teacher, politician or priest, journalist or judge—we’ll hear about what really happened sooner or later.

Maybe the little guy will remember the pain he felt during his punishment and do the right thing the next time he accidentally does the wrong thing.

For his sake, and ours as a society, I sure hope so.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425