Leader Don’ts #2: be a Liar

By | March 16, 2019

[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.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Leader Don’ts #2: be a Liar

  1. Jung Hoon Kim

    Communism tells us all is good as it is for people, not important. The state is all. The citizens can lie to achieve any end.

  2. Max Foster

    Yes, I believe that Gen. Satterfield has written about a similar idea before. Great leaders tell the truth regardless of the impact. As mention in his book, Univ of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson wrote is getting well known for a similar theme. Don’t lie.

    1. The Kid 1945

      I think Dr. Peterson said, “Tell the truth or at least don’t lie.”

  3. Tracey Brockman

    Another great article on a topic that we should be warned about. Our societies in the West continue to encourage people to lie. It is already part of the culture in socialist countries. If you don’t believe me, just go to any socialist or Islamic (socialist-lite) country and live there for a while. You will see that lying is okay and accepted as part of how they do business.

  4. Lynn Pitts

    Movies that play with humor are some of my personal favorites. I don’t know why … maybe it’s something inborn or maybe just learned because it works. But this move with Jim Carrey was making me laugh so hard, I cried. Thanks for reminding me of it. Have a great weekend.

    1. Georgie M.

      I agree with you about the movie with Jim Carrey. Loved it.

      1. Scotty Bush

        Yes, but Carrey, like you would think, is just another Hollywood nutcase.

    2. Willie Shrumburger

      Agreed. The tension between lying, the stereotype lawyer who lies, and the impact of it all was well designed into this movie. That’s what makes it so interesting and funny. Not really that keep intellectually but still a great lesson.

  5. Dennis Mathes

    Good article today on this Saturday. Today is a relaxing day for me but I plan to visit with my cousin and his kids. I’ll work this into the conversation with the kids and use the movie Liar Liar as a segway to get their interest focused. 🙂 BTW, love the movie. LOL.

  6. JT Patterson

    Being a liar does more than breaking social bonds. It sets humans onto each other and makes it easier for violence. We are beginning to see this with Identify Politics (see Gen Satterfield’s Daily Favorites today) which is pushing people into tribes and then pitting those tribes against one another.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      The battle of ideas continues. It will be long time before we humans sort this out to a point where there is again peaceful coexistance.

  7. Fred Weber

    I recommend you create another section somewhere that lumps all the mini-series articles where they can be easily accessed. Just a suggestion. Thanks.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Fred, some have suggested this before and I will consider it. Part of the reason I’m hesitant is simply the technical issue with this website. Thanks for the well-placed suggestion.

      1. Fred Weber

        You’re welcome, sir. Thanks for responding.

    2. José Luis Rodriguez

      Yes, good recommendation to make it easier for us to reference some of the older articles that would be good to again read.

  8. Army Captain

    Good new mini-series. Keep up the good works!

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