Sunday, December 30, 2007

Parents - Tell the Truth!

After my post about Santa Claus, I have been more sensitive to parental truth issues. This morning, I read the following article on CNN.com - Click Here

Of course, I found it appalling. A mother helped her daughter win two highly coveted tickets by inventing a tragic event in order to gain sympathy. The following quote was very telling:
"We did the essay and that's what we did to win," Priscilla Ceballos, the mother, said in an interview with Dallas TV station KDFW. "We did whatever we could do to win."
It seems that the mother concocted the story that the girl's father was killed in Iraq, so they wrote about his death in the girl's essay, part of the procedure to win the tickets. Now the sponsor of the contest is "considering taking away the girl's tickets."

Of course they should take away the tickets. That's a no-brainer. But will they?

There was a day that hardly anyone would question that decision, but now the fact that they are only "considering" it reminds me of the hand-wringers out there who would wail about the girl's hurt feelings and her lost opportunity for fun, or that it was her mother's fault so the girl shouldn't be punished. What rubbish! If they let her go, they will forever imprint on the little girl's mind that the lie worked, and that she had the time of her life because of deceitfulness.

Did I mention that the girl is only six years old? I think the mother's lying amounts to child abuse. But, from what I can gather, the lying stands to reason. I have never seen the Hannah Montana show, and I likely never will, but isn't it about a girl who lives a double-life? Isn't she deceiving a lot of people as a plot device? I guess it's no wonder that some Hannah Montana fans have no problem with using deception. (Please don't post comments defending Hannah Montana. If they aren't relevant, I will probably delete them.)

On to another example. I was reading a book yesterday that gives parents advice regarding how to handle bad media influences. Part of it included interviews with parents asking how they instructed their children when they are at a friend's house and the friend suggests watching an inappropriate movie. One father said that he instructs his child to call him using a code phrase that lets him know the situation without the child having to tell him directly. Then he would go and pick up his child, telling the host family that he forgot about an important family issue, so the child would have to come home.

In other words, he would lie. And this was supposed to be a Christian father.

Why not say, "I'm taking my child home, because your child suggested watching a movie that we think is inappropriate. I don't want by child being exposed to influences like that. Yes, I know you can find an alternative, but the fact that your child would suggest this movie at all lets me know that my child shouldn't be over here."

Would I say that? If you doubt that I would, you don't know me very well. Would my child be embarrassed? Maybe. But he would never forget that his father tells the truth and protects his mind.

The father in the book I mentioned will teach his children that it's okay to lie as a way to avoid embarrassment, that it's fine to deceive in order to avoid watching a bad movie. Yet, this father would be filling his child's mind with something more dangerous than a video with some bad words or violence. He would plant in his mind a license to lie, and that will prove to be a far worse influence than the movie would have infused.

Do you ask someone to say you're not home in order to avoid a phone call? Do you call in sick when you're not? Do you tell someone you loved a Christmas gift when you didn't? These are all lies, and there is no good reason to tell them.

Parents, tell the truth. At the very least, say nothing. Just don't lie. Whether it's telling kids to believe in Santa Claus, or approving Hannah Montana's deceptions, or telling a "white lie" to avoid a difficult situation, you are not only corrupting yourselves, you are corrupting your children. They are watching, and they will learn to follow your lead.

******Added Section******

I'm adding to my post, because one anonymous commenter tried to defend the Hannah Montana show. I researched the show further, and it is certainly something I would never let my kids watch. I have read song lyrics. Some are unacceptable. I watched a couple of Youtube excerpts of the show and concerts. She shakes her hips and struts in sexually provocative ways. She kisses boys on the lips, is obsessed with romance, and wears immodest clothing. How old is she? 13? 14? What a horrible role model!

When I see little girls screaming for a glimpse of their heroine, or parents standing in line in freezing weather to snatch up a ticket, I can tell what's going on--glorification of stardom. Fame for fame's sake. Idol worship.

Why would parents allow kids to watch programs with harmful content like this? Do they want their girls to become sexually provocative, hip-shaking harlots? I don't get it.

26 comments:

Brad in Canada said...

Why is everyone so upset. Parents have been lying for their children for years. Now the next generation is learning how to lie to get something for nothing. Typical North American greed. The mother should be convicted of fraud and the child put into the foster care system. Imagine how much more she will learn there about lying.

S. J. Deal said...

I don't agree with lying, of course. But I can see why the company thinks it has to consider it, in a lawsuit infested culture it's obvious what could happen next. Companies think in terms of dollars not morals. Not that that's an excuse or anything, but I don't expect "The World" to behave morally. Or as my pastor would say: "You can dress a pig up in a tuxedo but he'll still go back to the mud at his first opportunity."

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

I read today the tickets have indeed been withdrawn.

And yeah, if companies find something faulty with a contest winner, they tend to take lawsuit possibilites into account before pulling the prize. I read about a similar situation involving Toys R Us and a contest winner that turned out to be an illegal alien.

- Jason

Melissa said...

I don't think they should be allowed to keep them. The company needs to set a precedent. I wouldn't put her in a foster care system as Brad suggested, but they shouldn't keep the tickets. That is so wrong. Oh, it's four tickets by the way...

About the movie scenario, I would say no thanks and suggest another video or something else. I wouldn't call my mom and dad to leave.

I enjoyed reading your post. =)

Jessica said...

About the movie scenario, I would let them know (my friends) that I probably won't be able to stay if they watched it. My parents would *never* lie to "save" me from a situation like that (especially my mom, she is really straight-forward).

Jessica

R.E.T.S. said...

Must tell you that I agree with your premise 100%. No parent should ever, under any circumstance, lie to their child.

No idea how to answer in the face of a hard question? Tell them you'll talk to them later- Just be sure to do so, or you've spoken another lie.

Pray. There's a radical idea. Pray that God would give you the wisdom to answer your children truthfully and honestly without harming them in any way.

Really, that's what it boils down to for most parents- They want to shield their children from harm.

As far as Hannah Montana- No I'm not going to defend the show... I don't know enough about it to speak for or against it.
However, it seems to me that authors who use pen names in real life could have been just as easily pointed out, or actors with aliases, or actual musicians.

Just not sure why you chose a fictional TV show over several very good real life liars.


Good words, though, my friend... Good words.


Philao~
RETS

Roheryn said...

As a young kid, I probably wouldn't have called my parents either... but I'd have suggested a different movie... even as a teen, I'm opposed to those kinds of movies

as to the tickets, they should be taken away.
and a lawsuit is just ridiculous, 'cause they lied to get them

JesusFreak said...

I agree with most of what you said, but should a child ever be allowed to go to a place where an inappropriate movie is being suggested? When I was younger I used to resent the fact that my parents would never let us spend the night with our friends, except for about two. Now I am grateful because I was never put in a sticky situation when I was too young to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the no-lying rule. However, there is one aspect of your blog that I disagree with. I understand that it was a complete mistake, as you have not actually watched the show.
Yes, Hannah Montana leads a double life. However, she does this by omission and is for protection. Sort of like how a millionare's daughter isn't going to tell a guy on the street how rich she is. She would be kidnapped.
Anyway, Miley/Hannah does sometimes try to use her pop star status and double life to her Miley half's advantage. She almost always regrets the deceit, showing kids that what she did was wrong.
By the way, I say the word count for "Last of the Nephilm." Great Going!

DuelDragon said...

First of all, I'm not going to defend the show 'Hannah Montana'. It's really a pointless show, and really makes no sense. But to the point. I agree that parents shoulden't lie to their children.
With the whole 'Santa Claus' thing, it's a big lie, and when the kids find out that Santa is fake, what does that do to the kids? It crushes them emotionally, and will make them loose trust in their parents. A child should be able to trust their parents, not doubt every word they say.
In regards to the situation to the tickets to the concert, I don't think that they should be able to keep the tickets. It was a lie, if they get the tickets, it's kinda like rewarding the family for lying. Then the 6 year old will think that will work to get things.
Thanks for posting this blog Mr. Davis! It was enjoyable to read! :]

Clefspeare said...

RETS,

The reason I chose that show is because that was what the CNN article was about. It was current news and about a parent who lied, so that was the topic at hand.

There are many liars in our land, from entertainment icons to political power brokers, so there is much fuel to ignite my passions against lying. I have read articles in which people defend lying as normal and necessary, but their reasons are often ridiculous.

I could defend lying to save an innocent life, but I can't think of any other acceptable scenario.

Clefspeare said...

I had one comment from an anonymous person who tried to defend the Hannah Montana show even after I asked people not to do that. I haven't decided whether or not to let it post.

I researched the show further, and it is certainly something I would never let my kids watch. I have read song lyrics. Some are quite unacceptable. I watched some Youtube excerpts of the show and concerts. She shakes her hips and struts in sexually provocative ways. She kisses boys on the lips, is obsessed with romance, and wears immodest clothing. How old is she? 13? 14? What a horrible role model!

When I see little girls screaming for a glimpse of their heroine like they do or parents standing in line in freezing weather to snatch up a ticket, I can tell what's going on--glorification of stardom. Fame for fame's sake. Idol worship.

Why would parents allow kids to watch trash like this? Do they want their girls to become sexually provocative, hip-shaking harlots? I don't get it.

Clefspeare said...

jesusfreak,

If a family allows children to watch movies I find unacceptable, I lose trust in their ability to protect my child.

Pais Charos said...

I used to watch Hannah Montana, and I liked it. No, Mr. Davis, I'm not defending it - I promise.

I guess being an immature adult with no children, I never really saw the things you saw. I liked it for the music and some of her antics were funny.

Now, though, I see the problems with the show. I won't watch it again. And seeing as I don't have cable anyway, that won't be a problem :P

I'm glad to hear that that girl's tickets were taken away, G.O., hopefully it will teach her a lesson, as well as show others that you can't use deceit to get your way.

Melissa said...

Miley Cyrus is 15 now, but she did start the show when she was 13/14. Good estimate. My friends think she dresses modestly! I have never thought so. Yeah, she may not show much skin, but her clothes are so tight that it's like a second skin!

In second grade, I used to go over to my friend's house - who's parents drank beer, smoked and played cards late at night with their friends. I wanted to stay downstairs and watch them. They were hilarious! My friend always told me, "no you don't", so we would always go upstairs to do something else. I never told my parents. It never really bothered me. It should've and my parents should've gotten to know my friend and her parents a little better. God protected me and nothing ever came of it, but it's not a good situation to put your children into.

Parents get more involved!

Anonymous said...

I'm not defending hannah montana, i promise... Yeah, alot of people like the show, but what you see is only a thousand fans...what I mean by Only a thousand is that out of all the millions of people out there, most i know they hate her. Someone said they saw her on some channel with her dad saying she was christian, but what she does is not christ-like. For the lying part, yeah she does it way way too much. It makes little kids think it's okay. My dad's a pastor and has taught me(and my four other siblings) from the very beginning that there was no santa claus in the first place. Yeah it was tough, but my dad and mom never lied to me and i know that i can trust them.

Now the movie thing, I've had to deal with. I'll call my parents to ask them if I can or cannot watch the movie. If I can't I'll tell them straight up that I can't. If they roll their eyes or mutter something I just tell them again. It's the same thing over again....It always happens to some kid but most of the time it doesn't get dealt with right.

Anonymous said...

I'm not defending the show, but I'm not sure you should call Hannah Montana disgusing herself wrong. I mean, lying about it, etc. is not good, but Bonnie wearing a backpack to hide her wings wasn't wrong either. Would you say pen names are lying? I'm not sure I understand.

Roheryn said...

We were discussing the show earlier during our New Years Eve party, 'cause she was singing...
and one of my parents brought up a good point. Look at who her dad ish.
If it wasn't for him, there wouldn't even be a Hannah Montana.
He's famous, so, she gets the lime-light.
What's that teaching?

As for the show itself, I can see why some people will defend it. My sister watches it. But I could care less. Then 'gain, I don't really like too many of the shows that are on Disney Channel, and Nick, and such anymore anyway.

Clefspeare said...

Anonymous,

The problem is in the lying. Bonnie didn't lie to anyone. I have been told by others that Hannah Montana does lie on occasion. If that's not true, then I will amend my comments.

holli said...

Um, just so you know Mr. Davis, the previous jesusfreak was someone other than I.

Miley Cyrus is 15. *sigh* It is sad.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Bryan, your point about lying is excellent. It's interesting that so much seems to get in the way of that point. People can always find "reasons" for not telling the truth.

However I think you gave the organizers of that essay contest too much credit when you said the fact that they are only "considering" it reminds me of the hand-wringers out there who would wail about the girl's hurt feelings and her lost opportunity for fun, or that it was her mother's fault so the girl shouldn't be punished. I suspect they were "considering" the move while the lawyers checked to make sure they couldn't be sued if they took the prize back.

Becky

Clefspeare said...

Becky,

Thank you for the comment. I'm sure you're right about the lawyers. It seems these days that everything, even a moral choice, has to pass through the legal department first. Protection against a lawsuit too often trumps the simple concept of doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I thought this was just about lying, not about critizing the life of an actress and her show.
I am the first annonymous who defended Hannah Montana. Yes, the show is defenitely not for little kids, though it is promoted for them. I am frustrated every time I see someone under the age of ten or so going crazy over her.
I am not expecting you to post this comment, I just want to let you know some things.
As for her songs... Maybe I have just been distracted my the sound of the music, but I haven't heard anyting bad. Unless you find crushes bad.
I completely agree that the kissing is a no-no. But then, I assume that you are against Sleeping Beauty (the princess is only 16), Lord of the Rings, and other kissing movies.
If you find this comment disrespecful in any way, I apolgize.
And once again, I do not expect you to have this comment posted, as I noticed you asking for no more Hannah Montana comments.
I just read this to my mom. She mentioned something to me that I should have taken into consideration. I'm the type of girl who hasn't had any crushes past the elementery puppy love. I am always super-catious to stay modest. I guess that Hannah Montana could cause weaknesses in some where it doesn't cause in me. However, I will not amend my earlier statements. And... Well, I really took offense to your comments about Miley Cyrus. While she is not a good role model, shouldn't we leave the judging to God and just pray for her and her fans?

Clefspeare said...

Anonymous,

I decided to let your comment come through, because it helps me point out a couple of things.

First, this post is about telling the truth versus lying. I raised the Hannah Montana show because it was mentioned in the CNN story. Since her character is a deceiver in the show, the material in that show became relevant. It seems that at least one person who watches it is also a deceiver. I mentioned that this should come as no surprise. When people wrote to defend her show, that's when I expanded the topic.

You wrote, “I really took offense to your comments about Miley Cyrus. While she is not a good role model, shouldn't we leave the judging to God and just pray for her and her fans?”

You admit she is not a good role model. Isn’t that judging her? I think so. Why would you judge her and then question whether or not judgments should be made?

I am a parent. I am required to make judgments concerning what is good or bad for my children’s consumption. I would be a terrible parent if I were to be lax in taking on this role. I also believe parents should warn each other if bad influences are threatening their children. That’s called love.

Let’s examine the “judgments” I made. Does Miley Cyrus shake her hips and strut? Yes. I saw it with my own eyes. Does she kiss boys? Yes. I saw that, too, and you agree that it’s wrong. These aren’t mere judgments; these are facts.

One judgment I made is that some of the lyrics are unacceptable. I read them, and I believe some are. That is a real judgment, and I stand by it. She sings about partying, dancing, going wild, and other activities that influence the mind to focus on self. That is inappropriate.

Another judgment I made is that she dresses immodestly. I saw some of her outfits, and most are tight, accentuating her body. At least one revealed a lot of skin, and in the show a boy's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he looked at her. I think these prove her immodesty, so my judgment is accurate.

I wrote of my frustration that children and parents make her an idol, and you agreed with that frustration. If that is inappropriate judgment (which it isn’t), then you are guilty, too.

I wrote that I wondered if parents wanted their girls to become sexually provocative, hip-shaking harlots. Is that judgment of Miley? No. That’s a warning as to what could easily happen with this kind of idol worship. A girl who uses her body to attract attention through provocative movement that is sexually suggestive is a harlot, because she gains something through the sexual use of her body.

In Miley Cyrus’s case, I will make a judgment now. She gets paid for her sexual suggestiveness, which is a form of harlotry. The facts are inescapable, and once a parent makes a judgment like this, he or she can then take appropriate action. If a parent makes no judgments, then children have no guiding hand in their lives, and that would be negligence.

So, the judgments I made are based on eye-witness examination, and I wrote warnings about what this influence can cause, which is an act of love. Therefore, I stand by every statement I made.

Should we pray for her and her fans? Absolutely. Yet, without making judgments regarding what is wrong, we would neither be motivated to pray for her, nor would we know what to ask. And while we pray for her, we should continue to tell the truth about what she and her handlers are doing. We need to help parents see the danger. To not do so would be a hateful act of apathy and cowardice.

Melissa said...

My friends' 13 year old daughter loves Hannah Montanna. She even got highlights in her hair. I wish I could do something more, but I'm afraid all I can do is pray for them. If I told her why I think the show is wrong, they'd probably shoot me, since they think it's one of the better things on tv... Also the fact that I'm 30 years younger than the mother...makes for a tough situation. And I've been tough on them in past years, although I've finally mellowed out, but I remember the times I wasn't so, yeah, prayer is my best option for now.

But I agree with you. It will make what children see more acceptable. Dressing like that should not be acceptable, but if you see something often enough, you most often become de-sensitized to immorality and think it's okay.

Clefspeare said...

Melissa,

Good thoughts. Thank you for posting them.