Project 642: Untruthful Adults

The first time that I realized that adults were not always truthful was when I was in elementary school. At the time, I didn’t have the capacity to understand the circumstances of my family situation. My parents were divorced, my father wasn’t great about paying his child support, my mom was not making enough to support us on her own, and we lived with my grandmother.

I just knew that my mom would make promises to me about going somewhere or buying something for me “next payday” and it would never happen. I would ask to join a sport or activity and my mom would make up an excuse to why I couldn’t participate. From my micro-perspective, it just seemed like she just didn’t want to & kept putting me off.

One day, my parents were called into the principals office. Both of them. I was in the school’s afternoon program, on a trip to the bathroom, I slipped into a teacher’s classroom and stole candy that I knew she kept in her desk. I have no idea how I got caught, but the school called my parents, and I was in trouble.

When my parents heard what I had done, they acted in shock that I would do such a thing. They both suggested that had I only asked for it they would have gotten some for me. I didn’t need to steal it.

That was a lie.

I knew it.

They knew it.

And I called them out on it.

Not just that, but I unloaded all of my catalog of broken promises.

“No, you wouldn’t. You never do. You say you will, but you don’t.” The gates opened, my feelings were unleashed. I left with my mom. Silence the whole ride home.

My grandmother would sit me down later and explain the reality of things to me. How hard things were for my mom, and how much she tried to protect us from seeing how tight things really were. By no means did I get a pass for stealing, but she felt it was time that I understood why there were so many empty promises and diversions.

My mom wanted to do… but couldn’t. She just didn’t have the funds. She hoped that her answers would pacify requests and I would forget and move on. That was easier than telling me that would couldn’t even afford to buy something as simple as candy let alone bigger ticket items like trips or the newest fashion fad.

I had learned earlier that adults were not always truthful, my mom was being dishonest.

I also learned that the dishonesty of adults is often for complex reasons vs. being intentionally deceitful.

I’m not suggesting that lying is ok or something I would approve of people doing… but rather with age and experience I have begun to understand the nuances around it… and I judge less harshly when someone is being dishonest.

I try to look beyond the lie … and ask why.

#leadwell #project642 #memories #leadership

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