Trust and honesty are important elements in society, and especially within our little sub-societies of ‘family’.
Think about it – is there anyone in your life you trust implicitly? If so, then hopefully you are lucky as opposed to naïve.
As parents, we lie often to our children, while attempting to instil in them the virtue of truth.
Father Christmas, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and so on are are but a tiny portion of the little white lies told by parents every day.
Then there are the little white lies you may tell your spouse or friends. ‘Oh no,’ you may say, ‘of course your bottom isn’t the size of a house’, while mentally likening it more to the size a detached three-storey with a triple garage out the back.
But perhaps all lies are not equal? There are the lies we tell to save the feelings of others, lies that seem inconsequential, and then there are the lies we tell to protect ourselves.
Alternatively, we may lie by omission, or simply by deceitful behaviour. We all have that one friend whom we assumed was a true one, but who we later discovered had enough faces to rival Mickey Rourke after his sixth facelift.
If we are fortunate then that particular frenemy was made in the playground and discarded long ago.
Generally though, we tell lies in order to benefit ourselves. You may lie to garner sympathy, or to make yourself appear ‘better’ than you actually are, or to cover shame.
People lie to avoid trouble (if their behaviour has warranted ensuing trouble), and some people lie because they simply cannot help themselves.
These pathological liars are the most dangerous, because you will find that they can’t remember where the lie ended and the truth began.
When we discover lies or deceit it can be hard to learn to trust again, and perhaps it’s never wise to trust someone fully, but it is comforting to know that most of us can, hopefully, trust that our families and friends have our best interests at heart.
When we have children, the very least that we can do is try to model trustworthy behaviour.
We may spin a few yarns about how the stockings were filled on December 25, but we can also be kind, keep confidences, and stick to our word and the promises we make.
After all, if you can’t trust your parents, then what hope is there?