We have all heard that saying as a child, liar liar pants on fire and lately this saying has been going around in my head. I think it started when I saw a piece from comedian Jim Gaffigan talking about the tooth fairy and the cost of the lost tooth.
It got me thinking about the lies that we tell our children. When did it get to be socially acceptable to lie to our children and pretend there is a fairy that will leave them money for doing something their body is supposed to do; loose teeth? I had a child who was a late looser of teeth and he didn’t lose his first one until he was in second grade. Each time a classmate would lose a tooth he would come home all sad. And then you get the pressure of the fairy leaving just the “right” amount of compensation. Ridiculous.
Don’t get me started on that Santa fellow either. What happened to the Santa that would love socks and an orange? I heard that Santa leaves things like expensive electronics at some houses. Clearly Santa did not get the memo that my kids were good because he never left those types of things in my kid’s stockings. Lies we as a society tell our children.
But sometimes there are lies that we tell that are for the benefit of our children. I was recently reminded of this when my youngest was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior. I was so proud of him as I remember the child who struggled with learning how to talk and read. He was pulled out for extra help with reading for his first couple of years in school. He started speech therapy before the age of two and he was diagnosed with a learning “disability” when he was in second grade.
I too was not a strong reader when I was first starting school. I remember being in a meeting with my parents when I was in first grade and my parents being told that I was no longer in the top reading group in my grade. I took that to mean that I was dumb. I was lying to myself. I told myself I couldn’t read so I didn’t even try. It wasn’t until I was in fifth grade when my teacher pulled me aside and told me I was smart and needed to read more challenging books. Her faith in me was all that I needed and my reading took off. The lie disappeared with the confidence of a teacher.
My son recently shared with me that he thought he was in gifted reading like his older brother. When he was pulled out for individual help he thought it was to do more advanced work. He wasn’t in the meeting when they told my husband and me that he was struggling. Instead we had a first grade teacher that said because we had a child with a late May birthday he will be a little slow at first but by fourth grade he will be all caught up. We never lied to him that he wasn’t a strong reader. We just treated him like he was. And he never knew the difference.
Another lie I apparently told my children was that with their particular learning “disability” that people with it become strong leaders in life. I never remember telling them that. But they remember hearing it and believing it. They embraced this lie and have become amazing leaders in their school and community.
As adults we continue to lie. We lie and tell ourselves that our home/boat/car are not big enough. As an adult woman I can tell you that we lie a lot to ourselves. We lie that our homes are not perfect and so we cannot have people over. I am here to tell you that nobody lives in the homes that are in the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog. I have been in homes that have tried to emulate the catalog, but there are kid’s toys all over the floor and spills on the counters and dishes that need to be washed. This is how it should be. We are human beings, not robots. I want to walk into the homes of my friends and see them lived in.
We tell ourselves the lies that if we get that new expensive purse will be happy. Or if we get that lake home we will be happy. We need to stop with the lies that society tells us and really dig deep and understand that having more does not equate to being more fulfilled.
I have a house that is easy to clean and maintain. I have clothes that are easy to wash and don’t require ironing or dry-cleaning. I have a car that has a few nicks and scratches in it. I have an easy going husband who requires little maintenance. I don’t stress about what society tells me. I do what it easy and convenient. That is what brings me joy. I am done with the lies that I use to tell myself that I needed to upgrade my house and car. We are still in our starter home and I am really happy. If anything we are at the point in our life where we will buy something smaller.
So listen to that voice in your head this week that is telling you lies. Is it to make you a better person or does it stress you out? If that voice is critical you need to tell it to take a back seat. If that voice speaks to you in a loving way and encourages you to do and be better, keep it going. The lies I told my children were not meant to hurt them, but to encourage them and have the confidence they need in life. Now if we could just get rid of that pesky tooth fairy!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!