A Lesson in Lying

Truth seems to be an unfathomable concept for foster children. Sloane* has been with me over 2yrs (now no longer a foster child but adopted). Despite my best efforts she still doesn’t get it. Partially it’s the age – she turned 5 in February – but mostly it’s something else.

I’ve started playing a “game” Truth or Lie? with all of the kids. I will make a statement, for example: “Sloane has blue eyes”, they will answer: “truth” if it’s true “lie” if it’s a lie. This has been working great with 3yr old Elise*. She’s quick to blame everything on Sloane. When I ask, “Who coloured on the wall?” her answer is “Not me! Sloane did it!” There such conviction in her eyes, I believe her. Then I say, “Truth or lie? Elise coloured on the wall.” She hangs her head and replies, “Truth.”

Our lives have been fixated on truth or lie lately. It’s come to light 17yr old Sabrina* has been lying about a lot of things for a very long time. I’ve had suspicions but no proof. When I asked her response was so sincere I believed her. Her deeds may not seem that bad – she’s had an ipod for nearly 2yrs, stole my internet password, has been texting boys at all hours (telling me she’s doing things like folding laundry in her room). When caught, Sabrina’s response was, “You won’t let me date so I had to lie.” It’s not that I’m opposed to dating. But after some shocking revelations when Sabrina first began high school, I did ban it for her until she was willing to be honest about her actions so I could mentor/guide her. Unfortunately Sabrina’s approach to dating includes a large degree of secrecy. She’s never gotten to the point where she wants to be honest. I suppose banning it made no difference. Were she allowed she’d still lie and keep it a secret.

Anyways, some things have come to light. I’ve been unraveling Sabrina’s web of lies. We’ve been playing Truth or Lie? all the live long day which makes working a rail road seem incredibly appealing (for those unaware, there’s a children’s song that goes, “I’ve been working on the rail road all the live long day”). But instead of the back breaking work of railroad building, I’m here making Sabrina cry when I tell her she’s filled our house with lies and grown a spirit of deception in our family. It’s been an intense week.

Yesterday as Sloane returns from school, she’s excitedly shouting, “Look what I found! It’s a real bird’s nest!” That’s exactly what it looks like in her precious little hands. I let out a shriek. “Get that out of her!” I scream, chasing her down the hallway. Angrily, she dumps it out the front door.

Instantly I’m sorry for overreacting. My explanation of why I don’t want her touching birds’ nests is cut short. “It’s not a real bird’s nest,” Sloane says with distain. “I made it at school. We have things to make nests with there.”

“Oh my Lord!” I exclaim in all sincerity. Honestly, how can I teach her the value of truth? At a  loss I refuse to let the manufactured birds’ nest in the house since she lied about it being a real birds’ nest. It remains a few feet from the front door.

Let that be a lesson to you, children.

Sloane's birds' nest

Sloane’s birds’ nest

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