Archive for the ‘ Lies ’ Category

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

One of my favorite memories of childhood is playing “Ghost” with my friend Erik.  We would get out the tinker toys and spend a great deal of time making special ghost killing weapons like the “Belly Button Grinder” and the “Ghost Grenade.”  When we had completed building our arsenal we would crawl under his bed to find an old rotary dial phone we used as a toy.  We would dial some special numbers and announce to the ghosts on the other end, “OK ghosts!  You can come over now!”  What followed was a ghost butt kicking of epic proportions.  We jumped from under the bed spinning, kicking, belly button grinding, and grenade launching.  Those poor ghosts never had a chance! Continue reading

Lies Part 4 Santa vs God

“He knows when you are sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”

Much has been written and said about the parallels between Santa Clause and God.  I have no desire to talk religion on my blog, but thought it might be fun to play with the Santa Lie for a few minutes. The Santa vs God debate draws on many parallels between the two.

  • Both concepts are taught to children by adults
  • Both are omniscient in that they know things about you that only you God and Santa can know
  • Both judge, reward, and punish based on morality, belief and behavior
  • You can pray or write letters to them to ask for things
  • Tithings are offered to both represented by money, milk, cookies, etc..
  • Both have songs written about them and praising their powers
  • Both have been depicted as white men with beards

There is more but you get the point.

I don’t remember when I found out Santa was not real.  I don’t believe I was overly traumatized, but the fact that I don’t remember may speak to repressed memories 🙂  I have heard stories of children crying when they pre-maturely discover the truth about Santa from an older kid on the playground, thus shattering their paradigm of something they have held dear and believed in.  But they grow out of it and go on to tell their children the same lie when they are older.

There is a question I am more interested in, than “why we tell the Santa lie?”  The answer to that question might have something to do with long standing cultural traditions or wanting to motivate kids to behave.

The question on my mind is:  When religious parents teach their children about both Santa and God, I am guessing that they tell one as the truth (God) and one as a deliberate lie (Santa), but when the child finds out Santa is a lie, does it make them more or less likely to question God?   Do the similarities between the two concepts, even if they are subconscious, make children more skeptical of other constructs?

Again I do not wish to discuss the religious aspects of this question.  Rather the possible impact of the Santa lie on other belief systems.   With this in mind, is the Santa Lie a good idea?

Lies We Tell Children Part 3

I am having a little fun looking at some of the lies we tell children.  There are so many little ones that are harmless or maybe even helpful.  A good friend of mine has a daughter who has recently developed a fear of the monsters that live in her closet.  He and his wife have given her “Monster Spray” to use before she goes to bed.  This little lie helps her go to sleep at night and rest peacefully knowing the Monsters cannot get to her.

Other lies, and the ones I am more interested in, are the ones that seem to be for the good but have the potential to have horrible consequences.  In Lies We Tell Children Parts 1 and 2 we discussed the motivational lie that “You can accomplish anything you put your mind to”

Another favorite lie told by adults in an attempt to inspire not only children but other adults as well, is that the key to happiness is to “live each day as if it is your last.”  This is one part lie and one part advice but the potential result is the same.

I don’t think people are as likely to take this lie as literally as the first,  but it is still fun to play with the absurd nature of this lie and its implications.  It is a well intended lie that asserts  that we will not find happiness living in the past, nor will we discover fulfillment by only looking to the future and delaying our gratification until we reach “someday.”

The “greater truth” in this lie is that we should appreciate and take full advantage of right now.  To live in the present and enjoy the moment.  Not to wait until tomorrow but to seize the day to do the things you have always wanted.

But really does anybody really think this is a good idea?  If today were my last day on Earth and I was literally going to live it like there was no tomorrow, I would certainly not go to work.  Sure I might make sure I touch base with all my loved ones and make sure they know how much I love them, but I would not bother flossing my teeth.  The dishes in the sink could sit.  I have always wondered what it would be like to rob a bank and try to get away.  That might be an option.  I might as well try that dangerously addictive and life ruining drug I have always been warned about.  Maybe I would empty my bank account and go on a spending spree.

Imagine if the whole world decided one day to live it like it were the last. All the spending might be just the boost the economy needs right now but imagine the chaos.

What would you do?

Lies We Tell Children Part 2

“You can accomplish anything you put your mind to!”  This is the same as the lie in my last post “If you have a dream, and believe in yourself, and never give up, then you can do anything!”

Obviously neither version of this lie is true, yet audiences rise to their feet and applaud at the conclusion of a rousing and inspirational speech given by a person who overcame great odds, broke through impossible barriers, or ignored all the people who said “you can’t” and did it anyway.

We approve of this message for kids and hope that it will inspire them to follow their dreams and to persevere through hard times because “when the going gets tough…..”  But does this lie really foster drive, persistence, dedication, determination, and courage?  Do kids work harder and give up less often when they believe in this lie?  If so then maybe it is worth telling.

The alternative is to tell kids the truth.  But the truth is not nearly as dramatic and therefore less fun.

The truth is that each of us possesses a set of genetic, environmental, intellectual, and social limits or maximum potentials.  My genetic limits represented by my height, body make up and athletic ability, will probably not allow me to win the NBA slam dunk competition but if I worked hard enough, believed in myself, and really put my mind to it, maybe I could have touched the rim.

Personally I find discovering my limits within the tasks and dreams I choose to pursue incredibly rewarding.  I am under no allusions that I can do anything I put my mind to, but I know I can get better at the things I do through the same kind of hard work, desire, belief in myself, and determination the motivational speakers talk about.  But would children (and adults for that matter) be inspired by this message?

Several people commented yesterday on Lies We Tel Children Part 1.  I would highly recommend you read these comments if you are interested in this topic.  The replies deal with such things as cultural perspectives, greater truths, realistic goals, and the danger or equating accomplishing our dreams with happiness.  There is some great insight there!

In my next post I will look at another lie we tell children.  We all know this lie.  We have all heard it many times.  Most of us are probably inspired by it,  but if we all followed it, the world would descend into chaos!

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Lies We Tell Children Part 1

I am using this Blog as practice for a second Blog which I will be posting in the coming weeks with Todd Lile.  We will be blogging about our book, sharing insights, thoughts, and ideas related to the book, for those of you interested in following along.  This Blog will contain other ideas that go through my head.  Like this one.

There are a number of lies we adults tell children.  I will write about them one at a time.  The first lie is perhaps the most dangerous.  It is a staple of the motivational speaker diet.  Parents, teachers, celebrities, and athletes all know and spread this lie.  It goes something like this:

“If you have a dream and believe in yourself and never give up, then you can do anything!”

Really?  Seriously?  Is this a healthy message?  What if my dream when I was young, was to one day win the NBA Slam Dunk competition?  I knew it was possible because I heard the winner being interviewed.  He looked straight into the camera told the whole world the famous lie about this being his dream and he encouraged little kids like me to do the same.  So maybe  I believed in myself.  Maybe I trained everyday.  Maybe I learned how to dribble with my left hand!  Wait a minute….  My mom is 5’2″ and my Father is 5’6″.  Maybe the cards were stacked against me. But if I could just believe…….  But if I just never gave up……..

Is it possible this lie does more harm than good?  If “anything is possible” if we “never give up” then when we fail to achieve whatever dream (like me getting to play in the NBA let alone winning the slam dunk contest) then it is not because we lack the physical or genetic gifts, or what ever ingredients necessary.  It is because we lack the strength of character to follow our dream.  It must be because we gave up.

Is this really what we want to tell our children?   More on this in Part 2