Like most teenagers, I lied to my parents from time-to-time while I was growing up. Most of these were “small” lies that really didn’t need to be told but in my hormone-driven mind they kept me out of situations and confrontations that I wanted to avoid. One lie I told has always stuck out in my mind probably because of the fact that I was caught in it.
As a Sophomore I was fortunate enough to be asked to the Prom by a Senior. She was someone that I really liked and I was thrilled to receive the invitation. My parents said I could go so long as I promised not to dance, which they felt–for religious reasons–was inappropriate. Really wanting to go, however, I agreed to their terms and conditions and started making plans.
We had a lot of fun that night and we hardly ever left the dance floor. The hours ticked-by and the event was over. After an after-prom activity, I took her home and settled in for a short night’s sleep. (Another one of the conditions my parents set for me was that I had to get up and go to church the next morning–a dedication that I am now extremely thankful for even if I don’t agree with their stance on dancing.)
I thought I was in the clear until the principal of my high school approached my mother later the following week (both of my parents were heavily involved in volunteering at my school) and mentioned to her, as part of a larger conversation, that he never knew that I was such a good dancer. My cover having been blown, I was forced to face my parents later that night and admit that, yes, I had lied to them.
The look of disappointment on their face was, by far, worse than any punishment they gave me. I had broken their trust and it would take some time before I fully regained it. It was a hard lesson to learn and one that, unfortunately, I’m fairly sure I’ll have to teach to my boys at some point in their lives.
My untruthfulness showed what I was willing to do to enjoy something that had been forbidden to me. I allowed it to blur the line between what my parents and I thought was best. (Whether or not they were actually right isn’t really the point here, is it?) It was a small lie in my mind and, thankfully, it didn’t lead to even larger lies down the road.
Seth Godin agrees with me in a recent post entitled, “Little lies and small promises“. He advances the thought that little lies are often a slippery slope to bigger ones and that individuals and companies that are faithful with the “little things” are more likely to be faithful with the big ones, too.
I heartily agree, don’t you?
I’ll admit, however, that my night on the dance floor was an awful lot of fun.