How many times a day do each of us lie? A growing body of research shows that people lie constantly, that deception is pervasive in everyday life. One study found that people tell two to three lies every 10 minutes, and even conservative estimates indicate that we lie at least once a day.
Some of these are ‘white lies.’ You may tell someone their outfit is great when you think it’s horrible. You may tell your boss that his/her development plan is super, when you hate it. You may say you won’t be at home when you’re supposed to help with a civic event you’re not into. There are many, many white lies.
But there are huge lies, too, that hurt other people. We don’t like someone, so we make up a degrading story about them. Or we cheat in school, or on the job, or in our marriage. And then there are the politicians. Who doesn’t remember: “I did not have sex with that woman!”
When we tell just one lie though, don’t we often have to tell another one just to cover up the first?
And of course, that can go on and on, and often does.
I’m posting the popular children’s song about the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I taught my children and some of my grandchildren that the song is about lying. Tell a lie once, and you’ll have to tell another to cover up the first one, another to cover the second lie, and another to cover the third, and on and on.
In the song, in order to get rid of the fly, the old lady swallows a spider, then to get rid of the spider, she swallows a bird, and so on. The refrain in this popular children’s song is: I don’t know why she swallowed the fly ( or spider, or bird, etc). Perhaps she’ll die.
That’s a little heavy. But smart adults know that lying can kill the soul–of both the person telling the lie, and the person the lie is told about. In the end the old lady swallowed a horse, and well….
So, I guess the moral is: Watch out for the first fly (or lie). Swat it before it gets out of hand!
Copyright 2015 Kaye Park Hinckley.
Photo: “Fly on Flower” by marykbaird (2006) via Morguefile.