A listener had emailed the host, and told her that her son had made some bracelets and wanted to sell them online. He wanted to earn some money to buy a gift for a child who is needy.
The bracelets didn't ever sell, but the mother told him that they had, and gave her son the money from the supposed sale. Giving her son money is of course fine, especially since her son's intentions were good. But what I see as a problem, is that the son was lied to by his mother.
The email from the mother, was read on air by the announcer, as if the lying was somehow okay. I don't believe it is so I emailed the announcer and told her why I thought that.
The announcer replied to me, and still maintained that she felt what the mother had done was not a problem.
She ended her email to me with this:
"I don’t believe in protecting our children from the lessons learned from failure, but in this case I thought that rewarding such selflessness outweighed that."To which I responded.
"The problem with lying isn't just the lie itself that is the problem. It is the knowledge that when the child discovers his mother lied to him that he will feel betrayed by it. How can a child trust those in authority when they can say things that aren't true? How can they know when they can trust their parents, and when they cannot? How can I trust someone when I learn they have lied to me? In these cases, yes trust can be rebuilt, but the process is long and painful. Far better to never have lied at all.
There is also a very real possibility that because this was read on air, that friends at school may have heard the story, or their parents, or the child himself. Can you imagine the devastation that child would feel? The subsequent unintended fallout from a lie must be considered.
I maintain we can continue teaching our children without the need to lie to them. Yes the child did a wonderful thing, but no lies were needed to praise the child for that."I hope the announcer will rethink our exchange.