White Lies

In the short story Salvation by Langston Hughes, he is deceived by his aunt the rest of the community in regards to Jesus and his existence. While many parents would say that they always want their children to be honest, they often themselves lie unintentionally. There is a difference in lying to children and telling a white lie. When someone lies they are knowingly providing false information for the purpose of deception. On the other hand white lies are untruthful statements that are not meant to harm, instead they are positive.

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White lies serve as to avoid hurting the feelings of the listener and to avoid negative reactions from the listener to the speaker if the truth is told. Much of today’s parenting revolves around white lies. Parenting consists of telling white lies to help protect a child’s innocence, promote creativity and teach them important social skills. Children are told white lies by their parents not to harm them but to protect their innocence. For instance, one of the all time favorite white lie is Santa Claus followed by the tooth fairy and Easter bunny. All of these characters help preserve their innocence and lets them just be kids.

Santa Claus works in favor of the parents for the most part, children have to behave in order to receive a present if not they receive coal. When a child becomes aware that there is no Santa Clause it is time to tell them the truth. It is crucial that it is explained in a positive way so that the child does not feel betrayed. The belief of Santa Claus is most often the last frontier of their innocence, and to deny them that would be robbing them of their childhood. Another example, is when a child realizes or becomes aware of financial struggle in the family, it is the duty of the parent to reassure their child that everything is fine.

Even though, it is a lie but it is being said to protect a child from worrying. A child does not need to worry whether the parent is going to have money to buy food or pay the rent. A parent must protect their child from such worries, at all cost even if they have to lie. In some circumstances the children might be old enough to realize the situation and in that case it is probably best to explain but reassure that they will be fine. Parents omit information from children to protect them and if a white lie is needed to accomplish that then it is justified.

A parents job is to raise their child as best as they can and support that child with encouragement in creativity. At a young age children are read many fictional stories which helps develop their imagination and creativity. Children then begin to make up their own stories sometimes involving persons they know. When they learn the skill of story telling they might not differ something that happens from pretend. According to an article in Home Education in the UK, “Saying ‘there’s a tiger in the back yard’ is clearly a game; you can join in and play along.

But to adults, claiming falsely that someone else broke something is a ‘lie’. To your child, however, it’s just another game of making up stories”(Sue). That is when parents need to explain the difference in lying and pretending. One way that can be done is by telling the child about the little boy who cried wolf. The child needs to understand the difference of lying and pretending. Another example of telling a child a white lie is when they begin to draw what they interpret as Spiderman or a princess, it might be all squiggles or lines or circles, but that is how they are interpreting their drawing.

Now, when a parent makes a comment on the drawing they will not say that it is ugly or wrong, they will say it is beautiful and they did a great job. If the child starts to act out a story from a book and says and does things wrong, the child is not going to be criticized for not reciting the story correctly or in order. The child will be told they did a great job. The parent will not tell them that it was bad and they need to practice. Well, telling them that the play was great is a white lie but no parent has a problem doing that.

The role of the parent is to encourage a child to express themselves in a positive way and that can be done with some creativeness. White lies can also serve the purpose of teaching a child needed social skills. In an article in The Times, Dr,. Boyle argued that it can be unfair not to lie to children, “Dr Boyle points out that lies of our social experience. Everyone lies to you-friends, lovers, advertisers, politicians, builders, e-mail scammers. A child who grows up with no experience of being deceived by the people may turn into a pushover” (Barrowcliffe). Parents do not want their children to become pushovers.

They do not want them to struggle, fail or feel pain or disappointed. If a child never experiences feeling deceived throughout his childhood, he will not be ready for what awaits him or her in the real world. That child will not be able to distinguish a genuine person from a con. In the real world that is a needed skill. Research presented in a US News article that persons who deceive themselves have a tendency to be happier,”There are social payoffs, too: Studies have shown that people who lie frequently are viewed as friendlier and more amiable that their more truthful counterparts” (Boser).

The best example is when someone asks if they look fat in the dress and the reply is it looks good. Being able to tell a white lie without remorse of being morally wrong, can actually be a good thing. People try to classify as lie is a lie no matter what. Well, if their is a woman that seems distressed and runs and hides, and seconds later the perpetrator ask which way did she go? What would be the morally right answer to say? Well without hesitation he should be pointed in the opposite direction, even though it is a lie. That lie could possibly save a life. Saving a life outweighs the ’morally’ right thing to do.

Being able to distinguish a white lie from a lie can definitely make a persons life a bit easier. White lies serve many purposes in life. They can be used to protect the innocence of a child by omitting some information to keep a spirit alive. They can help in promote the creativeness of a child by using encouraging words even when something is wrong. And they can also teach children important social skills that will help them be successful in life. Unlike the short story by Langston Hughes, Salvation, the truth was stretched out of proportion, Jesus could have been better explained.

So whether a lie is white lie or not, it is based on justification. If it serves to help, keep safe, inspire others for unselfish purposes, that is a justified lie. If it is for selfish or to serve in an undeserved, destructive was for others, it is not justified. Work Cited Barrowcliffe, Mark. “Do parent’s white lies hurt children?. ” The Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. 24 November 2009. Web. 16 July 2011. Boser, Ulrich. “We’re All Lying Liars: Why people Tell Lies, and Why White Lies Can Be OK. ” US News. 18 May 2009. Web. 16 July 2011. Sue. “Your child and white lies. ” Home Education in the UK. 4 April 2009. Web. 16 July 2011.

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