A reader recently wrote me to ask for advice about a common parenting problem:
My 6-year-old lies to me on a daily basis. He hides food in his room and lies about it, among other things. How can I get him to tell the truth?
I consider a child’s misbehavior to be a flashing neon sign announcing that something else is going on that needs to be addressed. In other words, the lying and deceptive behavior is a symptom of something else.
When is the last time you told a lie? Nothing major, just a little white lie? If you’re anything like me, you lied yesterday about why you were late, or you stretched the truth about the extent to which you read a book, or perhaps you weren’t honest about what you did or didn’t eat. You are not alone. We all do this EVERY DAY.
I’ve spent the past five years in a deep self-inquiry and this is one of the most interesting discoveries I’ve made. It sounds simple but at the most subtle level I’ve started to notice the vibrational quality of these lies when they enter my mind and leave my mouth. It feels much different than when I am moving from a place of love. There is a complete lack of integrity and I find myself out of alignment with my sankalpa, my deepest intention, which is to speak my truth.
As we write this, in the spring of ’08, it seems like we’ve been in the world’s longest-running political campaign—and there’s still half-a-year to go! Seeing all those political ads have inspired us to propose a new set of rules for politicians and their ads. For many years we’ve had the privilege and joy of helping people change their lives and their relationships by learning how to use four communication tools skillfully. We originally discovered the power of those tools thirty years ago, by experimenting in our own relationship with ways to keep the flow of intimacy going strong between us. The tools work, and we’ve been rewarded with more love, harmony and creativity than we ever imagined possible.
Learning how to be honest in close relationships is an art that takes a great deal of focused attention. We’ve often thought how strange it is that so few of us get any training in communication during our school years. Compared to the amount of time we spend learning addition, multiplication, grammar and such, most of us get no training in the crucial aspects of relationship communication. Even though Kathlyn and I have spent thirty years learning and teaching how to speak honestly in close relationships, we still learn something new every week. Here’s a recent learning from Kathlyn:
In the blink of an eye, one more year will be behind you. In 2008 you can continue on the path you’re on, or you can make a shift. What will you choose?
You know that to make your body stronger you must challenge it. It is the same for willpower and courage. To get more courage, you must face your fears. To increase willpower, you must use the power of your will.