Ask my kids, “What’s the one thing that’ll make your mom really angry?” They’ll tell you: Dishonesty.
There are two exceptions to the rule: little white lies and the so-called “sin of omission.” I like to think of the latter in terms of discretion being “the better part of valor.” You don’t owe anyone answers to inappropriate questions, and you don’t need to inflict ruthless honesty on everyone when there’s nothing positive to be gained by it.
“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” Men recognize this as a trap. But what if she asks this at home, before a party? What if there’s a dress that flatters her figure more, and you see it hanging, clean, in the closet? How about, “No, but I like the burgundy one better – it brings out the color of your eyes”? Of course you wouldn’t say this once you’ve arrived at the party and there’s no alternative to the fat-dress. That’s where the little white lie is fine – just leave it at, “No, honey!” and add a little reassurance, “I think you look beautiful.”
Guys, wouldn’t you want to be told, discretely, if your fly was open? Or if you had toilet paper trailing from a shoe? Little white lies serve no one here. And the “sin of omission” is cruelty, when the flaw is so easily fixed.
Let kindness be your guide.
In my book, A New Leaf for Lyle, poor Lyle’s got a habit of lying over the most trivial things. Sometimes, it’s to stay out of trouble – so why does it seem like lying always gets him into more trouble? Sometimes, a fib just seems to sound better, and less silly, than the truth. But he’s picked up an unflattering nickname: “Lyle the Liar.” And now, even his mom and dad don’t believe him when he’s telling the truth! What’s a kid to do?
Lyle discovers that once you lose someone’s trust, it can be hard to build it back up again. But with enough love and effort, Lyle learns he can turn over a new leaf.
A New Leaf for Lyle is a full-color children’s picture book, available for Kindle or in Paperback.