My sister came home with a hole in her sweater. She was probably 7 which would make me 14. Her sweater was light blue, one of the rare things I remember so well. The hole wasn’t a tear, it was too perfect for that. My mother asked what happened. I don’t remember my sister’s response, but I do remember that it was a lie. Somehow, my mother, with her secret Spidey sense, that all mothers have, I swore she had cameras, figured out that my sister had purposely cut her sweater with scissors. My mother was angrier than I’d ever seen her, not because of some cut cloth, but because my sister had lied, the worst possible thing anyone could do in our family.
According to Webster, to lie is “to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive”. I’ve learned that lying is an important part of a child’s cognitive development that reflects a fresh understanding that people have differing beliefs. It must be interesting to test those boundaries as a child.
I often wonder what deficiencies exist in adults who lie proficiently. My mother calls them inveterate liars, people who lie for a lifetime. The scariest liars, I believe, are those who convince themselves their lies are true. Unfortunately, we’re faced with lies daily whether its social media content, so called “news”, information from family, friends, colleagues, partners and the list goes on and on.
I don’t know about you, but I find the conversation about lying deeply disturbing, saddening and frustrating. I wonder if I became a lawyer to disrupt the lives of liars and shake out the truth. Lord knows I’m not one for running away from my own truth. If you know me, you know my story.
What is it about adult human beings that makes us lie?
Why do we lie to take what doesn’t belong to us?
Why do we accept lies when we know they’re untrue?
Why do we lie to ourselves?
I certainly don’t know the answers. I know there are times we lie to avoid hurting people. I can understand that. However, the lies that are intended to hurt, to confuse and to take from others are unacceptable in my book.
I believe we can do better. Don’t you?