Yesterday I caught my oldest daughter in a lie. It was a minor one, a lie that was really very trivial. But it still hurt nonetheless.
We’ve done our best to teach our kids to always tell the truth, and we know that we aren’t the only influences in our daughters’ lives, but still, something must have led her to believe it was either okay or worth the risk, and that something must have been an aspect of our parenting or the environment we’ve cultivated in our home.
I was so angry that I yelled. And, I don’t yell very often as I believe I’ve blogged before. She was visibly upset and started to craft a story as to why she lied, but the lie was so ridiculous and the story so bizarre, that I had to cut her off.
My wife and I don’t consider ourselves to be liars. We’ve chosen not to tell the kids the full story about a number of things we think they are too young for, and we may have told the kids a few small lies to ease potentially painful outcomes for them. While that isn’t a good thing, we always do our best to be transparent and truthful.
I attempt to learn and lead the same way professionally. Being blunt and telling the truth is something that I strongly believe in, and I attempt to be honest at all times. First, because I believe it is in everyone’s right to know, and second because the position of a leader or learner is one that needs to be saddled with the baggage of truth, regardless of what might happen. I have lied a few times at work over my career, and I remember each situation very clearly. In each, I’ve lied because of embarrassment at my own lack of knowledge, and each time, I’ve been ashamed afterwards. As my career has progressed I’ve become increasingly better at simply admitting my lack of knowledge. After all, there is nothing wrong with not knowing; an answer unknown or an experience not yet had is simply an opportunity to become better at what we do each day!
My daughter’s tall tale was frustrating enough for me to remember that we owe it to ourselves, and to others, to always tell the truth. No matter the cost.