essay

Lying, Sneaking, and Obstruction of Justice: Children and Politicians

I have some really great children that I love a lot. But they make mistakes. They are old enough to know when they haven’t done the right thing. But they are still learning, so their instinct is to hide.

They don’t like to tell me when something goes wrong. (I can tell by the screaming sometimes.) They sometimes give me the right answer instead of the one that is actually true. (“Did you brush your teeth?” “Yes.” “Your toothbrush is dry. Go brush your teeth.”)

Kids like to hide things like gum and candy wrappers. They will lie about what happened and say they didn’t do it when they really did. They don’t ask permission and they sneak and they hide. I think this is pretty normal for every kid out there. I know I did it.

But this behavior, while it seems childish, can continue on and on. We all are guilty of lying, sometimes more often than we think. We hide and sneak. We try to save face and appear better than we are.

I was thinking about how when politicians and powerful people get into trouble, I often hear the words “obstruction of justice.”  They are doing the same things as my children: hiding candy wrappers, telling falsehoods, and trying to appear like they are doing the right thing when they are not.

It’s hard to tell the truth. It’s really hard to admit when you make a mistake. It’s hard to always ask for permission. It’s hard to live with integrity, where you don’t have anything to hide.

I once broke a computer at work years ago. It was a huge mistake. And I had to tell them about it. So I did, even though I was a bit scared. But it turned out just fine. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s when you don’t admit the mistake that it really becomes a problem.

I know my husband, as a manager, would much rather his employees talk to him about the mistakes they make instead of just hoping it goes away. He’s had multiple employees damage vehicles without admitting any fault. They all get found out, and it would have been so much easier for them if they would have admitted what they did when they did it.

When we tell the truth and admit our mistakes, frankly and honestly, we feel better and we are able to move forward. We usually can’t hide things very well. They resurface and they come up. But if we just admit what we did was wrong, we apologize, and we work to make it right, we find ourselves happier, in control of our life, and more able to develop good relationships and help others.

People actually think higher of those who admit they are wrong. We try to hide our shame sometimes so people will like us, but in reality, the effects are the opposite. Vulnerability is a positive thing, not negative, and we would all do well to be more forthcoming about fixing our mistakes instead of hiding them.

Sometimes the most powerful people haven’t learned this lesson. I’m trying to teach my kids: telling the truth is so important. I am often much more supportive and gentle when my kids admit a mistake than when I find out on my own. When we want an increase of love, we do that by seeking help in confessing and fixing, not in hiding.

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