I remember being exceptionally adept at lying when I was young. I think my peak performances were in my younger teenage years…maybe around ages 12-16. Whether I lied about being sick to get out of school, the homework assignment I “did,” or the leftover pizza that went missing over night, I lied a lot and my parents didn’t seem to be catching on.
Looking back, most of my lies were out of self-interest – in order to get what i wanted or to get out of trouble. I don’t remember lying for fun or mischief. It seems innocent enough – sure, what kid doesn’t lie to keep from getting grounded? However, when my son was born, the effects of my lying days rippled through time and struck me when I wasn’t expecting it. Yes, I was self-interested as a teen…but I was never really cured of that habit and mindset. Caring for Jack was a punch in the gut – my selfishness was highlighted in bright, bold color for me and the whole world to see. My selfish endeavors as a kid created a pattern of selfishness that I never really broke, or even realized I had, until it was time to put someone else first (my wife may have noticed long before I did).
Here’s an article with some research about teens and lying:
Lying is never cute. It is never acceptable. We can expect it from young people, but we should encourage open environments, integrity, and love for one another. Lying is selfish. The gospel is self-sacrificing. I challenge all of us, especially myself, to model and teach this to our kids.