Friday, 10 April 2015

"As long as you tell me the truth" (By Mohammad Zafar)

Back in grade 8, when I received a suspension from school along with a bunch of classmates, I realized I would have to say something to my mother on why I would not be attending school the next two days.

Some of my classmates decided to act sick in order to avoid the backlash they would receive while I, having no idea how my mom would reply, decided to just tell her.

With all my family in the room I held my head down and told my mom I was suspended for the following two days. My sisters heard and began to ask, "wait what?". As for my mom she immediately, without any hesitation, said smiling, "That's told me the truth. I don't mind as long as you tell me the truth" - much to the chagrin of my sisters. I was rather surprised. It even felt weird. But I have actually began to see the benefit of her response many years later.

Even today I sometimes see friends pick up the phone from their parents and blatantly lie saying, "Oh we are just at a coffee house" when watching a movie for example. It is part and parcel, I feel, a habit grown in response to the reaction of parents. When I tell some of them, "hey, why don't you just tell your mom you wanted to watch a movie at the theaters?" the response usually is, "No bro, you don't understand. My mom is gonna freak out, give me a lecture, and not get off my case..." and then they say something eerie, " know what, it's just so much easier this way".

Sadly it is.

And sadly it is also a behavior that can continue when one gets married as lying to the spouse then becomes habitual (Doesn't lack of trust ruin marriages?) - friends, colleagues, children eventually just follow suit too.

What's important to keep in mind –especially at a young age– is that it may not necessarily be the benevolence of the children or their "natural" good nature, rather it may very well be the character of the parents which plays a larger part in this cycle of lying. If my mom would have reacted angrily, I am not sure if telling her the truth would come so easily.

Lying is, and will always be, a sin regardless of the excuses we make. However, wouldn't it be better if we made telling the truth come more easily than lying?

We can all learn to ask ourselves:

Do I react like this to my friends?
Do I react like this to my spouse?
Do I react like this to my parents?
Do I react like this to my children?

Perhaps we can all learn to be better listeners which would encourage people around us to approach us in honesty.