[March 16, 2019] Movies can be really funny; especially those that play on old human weaknesses. The 1997 movie, Liar Liar, starring Jim Carrey, is a real treat; particularly, as Carrey is a lawyer who tells the truth for 24 hours straight. To be a good person and to be a true leader one should tell the truth but if that is not possible, at least don’t lie.
My maternal grandmother, we called her Bigmama, was a real stickler about telling the truth. She was a devoted religious lady who attended church every Sunday at her local United Church of Christ. Her convictions were sound. She told the truth and, as kids, we learned that she had no tolerance for someone, anyone, who is a liar.
One summer day the dry grass next to her home caught fire. Several of us grandkids had been lighting firecrackers; such fun we had. The firecrackers set off a small fire that turned into a fast running blaze that burnt the entire yard and nearly took out granddaddy’s storage shed. Her first question? “Who did this?”
Like any young child, we immediately had to struggle to decide between two choices. Lie about it and thus deny we had anything to do with the fire (to our thinking, getting off scot-free) or tell the truth. The latter would involve some future, unknown but severe punishment. As this was slowly rattling around in my brain, my cousin Mickey confessed it was us. “Oh, brother.” Now we were in for it.
Lying breaks the social bonds between people. Any short-term or temporary gain by lying always comes back upon the liar. As kids, of course, we didn’t understand this concept. Sadly, many adults don’t either. Those who habitually tell the truth have a clearer mind; a mind without guilt or shame. The truth teller is freer than the liar.
That day, Bigmama told us the fable of the Boy Who Cried, Wolf. That small shepherd boy lied about a wolf to get the attention of the villagers. He tried this so often that when a wolf did show up to eat his sheep, no one came to the boy’s aid. My young grandchildren will never be like the shepherd boy “because today you told the truth.” But we did have to repaint granddaddy’s storage shed.
The lesson was and remains simple; don’t be a liar.