I realized this after reading my #1 book recommendation from the 2014 readling log:
Radical Honesty, by Brad Blanton.
Are you a liar?
Neither am I!
Do protect the ones you love?
Would you WITHOLD information from a loved one if it would hurt them?
Would you lie to a loved one to PROTECT them?
Once I felt a resounding "YES" inside my body to answer those last two questions. I had a blinding flash of awareness about what a liar I was!
Then it happened,
one simple lie,
out of tradition,
about a camel walking across Florida,
on its way across the ocean to Bethlehem,
to deliver presents to the son of God,
who is supposed to love us without condition,
has robbed all the love and joy of giving and receiving gifts from my entire family!
Monday night, Andrea asked the boys to put shoes out by the front door so the camels can bring gifts. I never celebrated this "tradition" in Iowa, but its big in the latin culture.
As all the boxes of toys and gifts were arriving daily from Amazon, each greeted by a resounding bark from my dog Boone as the doorbell rang, my kids should have realized Santa has a new kind of helper.
One box contained two, identical, remote controlled boats from my sister. My wife decided to withhold these presents from Christmas and save them for the camels to deliver on Jan 6th during Epiphany.
The boys were very excited to get the presents. I told them once their homework was done, we could race the boats in the lake after school.
During the day I opened the boats to charge the batteries. Only, guess what, NO BATTERIES!
I searched amazon for the product and read the reviews. There were 7, 5-star reviews BEFORE the holidays starting in Oct. There were 30 reviews of 1-3 stars AFTER Christmas complaining of a defective product, missing batteries, and no response from customer service.
There was no way to fix this before the boys came home. As I started to tell the truth, the lie fell apart. I called my sister to ask her to file a complaint and start the return process.
She was happy too, then all the sudden she got really quite on the phone? I asked what was wrong and she asked with a hurt in her voice, "So, the boys didn't get my gift for Christmas?"
"Ahhh no, they didn't. Sorry Sis..."
"And if the camels brought the boats, that means the boys didn't get a Christmas gift from Aunt Louise?" In my family, we give gifts as a sign of love and affection for each other.
By lying about the camels, I had hurt my sister by taking that joy of giving away from her.
When I picked the boys up from school and explained what happened, I really got an emotional punch in the gut.
"Guys, the toy boats were not good quality and the person who made the boats were not honest and did not include the battery, even though they promised one on the box. They lied to us. Don't worry, we will exchange the boats for a new ones of better quality that work."
Both boys were a little disappointed, but they understood. Until they didn't.
Nathan asked, "Dad, how is the camel going to exchange the boats for us?"
I started backpedaling, "Nathan it wasn't really the camels that brought the boats to you. They were a gift from your Aunt Louise. She loves you very much and wanted you to know the gift was from her. We talked and made a plan to fix this mistake."
Ah... there, the truth shall set me free!
5 minutes later Everett was crying in the back seat while I was driving.
"Hey Buddy, What's wrong?"
"Dad, I don't care about the boat if it came from the camels, but these boats came from Aunt Louise as a present. Please don't exchange them! You have to fix it. Its a present from her and I do not want her to think I do not love her because I returned it. I do not want her to thing I was not thankful for the present she gave us!
Please Dad, you have to fix the boats!"
One simple lie, out of tradition, about a camel walking across Florida, on its way across the ocean to Bethlehem, to deliver presents to the son of God, who is supposed to love us without condition, has robbed all the love and joy of giving and receiving gifts from my entire family!
One little lie, robbed so much joy from my family.
Now looking back all those Christmas gifts from the anonymous "Santa" that came for just "being good." How much joy and love did that lie rob my boys and myself from? I'll never know?
All I do know is that I won't let that happen again. I know now I can trust a 7 year old with the truth. I do not have to protect them for life. It is my job to prepare them from life.
Instead of lying to them and teaching them the value of protecting others with lies, I need to reinforce the value of telling the truth. Expressing their feelings and emotions even if it hurts another person.
I also have to take a stand against lying and teach them not to accept or condone lying because everyone does it. Search Youtube and watch Brad Blanton run for Senate, without lying! He openly will describe his sex life and drug use! He had to run as an independent because no political party would touch him as a candidate.
When a new coaching client starts with me, I know that they are "stuck" because of some lie they are telling themselves or others. Once they get clear about what it is and what they need to do about it, the transformation they experience is powerful and long lasting.