Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is There Justification in Lying?

          When your child hollers: “Mom! So-n-so is on the phone!” 
And you respond with, “Tell them I’m not home.”  What are you teaching your child?

          Several children will go in for shots and will ask, “Will this hurt?” of course they don’t always get the truth.  But hey, it’s easier to lie than to wrestle them to the ground and make it hurt even more.

Is it okay to lie?  Is it acceptable to have your child tell a stranger that you are not home?  When a child is home alone, he’s been taught to say that “my mom is sleeping”  “dad’s out in the shed.  I’ll go get him” and runs and hides or calls an adult with a plea in his voice, “What do I do?”

          I’m not big on deceit – though I have told Jenna there’s a Santa Clause and have been sneaky about surprises.  Is that the same?

          When my grandmother went back to work to support herself and her three children she lied about her age as she feared age discrimination.

          When my brother-in-law’s first wife was diagnosed with cancer, Bill had just lost his job.  Annaleigh decided not to seek treatment – knowing full well that there was no insurance and that they wouldn’t have the finances to meet her medical expenses.  So Bill lied to her.  He said they were covered, even though they weren’t.

          We’re taught to always tell the truth, because then we don’t have to remember whatever falsehood we may have said.  In my mom’s case, she doesn’t always remember from one minute to the other.  We can have the same conversation seven times in less than thirty minutes.

          My mom believes all sorts of crazy things.  She gets angry if we would attempt to correct her – so for the most part we don’t.  It’s not as though she’s going to remember in two minutes from now anyway.  When we’d express concern over her medication or finances (as there are so many scams out there) she behaved quite childish and all but throws a tantrum.

          Corey has called around to have mom’s name removed from several caller lists but has been told that the request has to be made from HER phone.  So now someone else will need to call these organizations (whether real or bogus) from her phone – probably a female – so that we can have her name removed and if they should ask, “Am I speaking with person in charge” we can lie and say “Yes” because really, how does one prove him or herself over the phone with a solicitor?
          Sometimes we have to take mom places that she just doesn’t want to go.  So we’re not always truthful about it.  Or sometimes we are and she forgets and accuses us of wrong doing.  It’s been frustrating, really.  Or at least that’s how it was in March.  It’s not even been an entire year later and her memory is going rapidly. 

          For two years the main road off hers was under construction. She believes during that time the entire neighborhood had been evacuated to elsewhere.  She is always surprised by certain items of mail she receives or when her children are able to find the house she’s lived in for the last 52 years as she believes that she has lived elsewhere.  Except for the other day.  I think it’s the first time in a month that she hasn’t mentioned the move.

          The other day I had a caregiver and nurse drop by to give mom an evaluation as Patrick and Sunny had scheduled an appointment with a facility today and I thought it better to find the right fit (as there are three locations).  Mom answered their questions – offended at how personal it was getting.  I figured she’d forget about it the minute they left.  But she asked, “Just who were those girls?”

          “Those weren’t your visiting teachers?” I knew that they weren’t.  But she might not know. 
          “I’ve never seen them before.”
          “Really?” I know for a fact that she doesn’t know even half the people in her ward (church boundaries) although she has known many of its members 20-40 years or more.  But she’s forgotten most of them.  I was surprised to see her smiling at the ward Christmas dinner and staying for the entire program.

          “Oh, I’m sorry mom.  Maybe I shouldn’t have let them in.  They seemed nice”
          She forgot about them.  I told her that I had to leave in about thirty minutes to pick up Jenna and would she like to come with me.  I was surprised when she said “yes” but of course she changed her mind when it came time – which was okay.  I needed to get home to start dinner for Roland.

          As I was getting ready to leave, she kissed me and thanked me for coming.  She doesn’t remember her conversation with “the girls” at all.  Even if I had told her the truth about who they were and why they were there, she wouldn’t have remembered.  So why have her be upset for two or three minutes with the truth?  I hate having to lie – but I hate having her upset with me even more.
          Funny.  Whenever we tried to cover up a wrong-doing with a lie, we got into more trouble with the lie than we did for the “crime” itself. I remember one time when we didn’t get punished at all because even though our actions were less than desirable (I had let Patrick drive the car a year before he was eligible to get his driver’s license) we had been truthful about it.
          Mom doesn’t remember that.  I don’t know if she remembers how against deceit she was at one time.  I think she’s oblivious for the most part.

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