The Tricking Game I Outgrew

Everyone lies. Everyone has lied, everyone will lie. It’s part of our human nature; it’s natural for us. In order for something to become natural, it must be practiced routinely and for a long time.

When I started pre-school around the age of three, I began thinking I could be sneaky and fool my parents into giving me what I wanted, and getting out of things I shouldn’t have been doing. I would call it “tricking” mommy and daddy. By using the term tricking instead of lying, I convinced myself that whatever I was doing was okay because it was just a joke.

Po Bronson is the author of Learning to Lie, an article about an experiment testing childrens ability to lie. “Lying is related to intelligence,” says Dr. Victoria Talwar, an assistant professor at Montreal’s McGill University and a leading expert on children’s lying behavior. In his article, Bronson explains how children that tend to do better on academic tests tend to start lying around the age of two or three.

By a child’s fourth birthday, they most likely have started experimenting with lying in order to avoid punishment. Something as simple as saying that ate their vegetables when really they were feeding them to the dog under the table. That was my little sisters favorite thing to say because she never ate her dinner but her plate would somehow always be finished. I would get so angry that Tara wouldn’t have to eat her broccoli and I did- so not fair! How could Mommy and Daddy not notice her sneaking food under the table! She was tricking them.

When I started to practice my personal concept of tricking, it was for harmless reasons. Saying I worked for an hour on my homework at the kitchen table, when I really worked for ten minutes in front of a TV. Saying I didn’t pull my sisters hair, when I actually yanked it. Saying I only had two cookies when I really ate ten.

Anything more severe than that I was always too scared to lie about, and it’s all thanks to my parents. When I was a toddler I never understood, but now I see that everything they said was to protect me and build me into a respectful person. I’m not saying I never made mistakes or did things I regret (who hasn’t?) but I have owned up to everything I’ve done.

My mom would say to me, “Kathleen I know you wouldn’t color on my walls with crayon because you know better than that.” I’d feel so bad and disrespectful that I would walk myself to the timeout chair (yes we had a timeout chair, with its designated corner in the kitchen).

As the years went on my relationship with my parents got stronger, my morals became more defined and I seldom lied. I learned that it’s better to talk about anything I’m not sure about doing or saying than to go behind someones back, against my morals, and have a guilty conscience in the end. Tricking my parents wasn’t necessary, because I didn’t have anything to hide from them.

Respect. It all revolved around respect. Lying is an act of disrespect, something I hated feeling. I outgrew my tricking games, I learned from them, and I was shaped into the honorable person that I am today because of it.

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