family life, motherhood, parenting, poetry

I will teach my children lies

Winter, Jean Antoine Houdon, 1787
I will teach my children lies
I will teach them that a mothers love and a fathers love can protect them from everything.
That by treating others with respect they in turn will be respected.
That by doing their bit to protect the environment, conserving resources and treading lightly on the earth they can make a difference.
I will teach my children the lie that hard work and determination equals success.
That the world is safe.
That Art matters
That love conquers all
That their opinions count and so do other peoples.
That laughter is the best medicine.
That anything is possible.
That there is a happily ever after.
That the people we love never truly leave us.
That we are all winners.
That superman will always come to the rescue (or Paw Patrol or Octonauts or whatever next weeks obsession is).
That villains always get what they deserve.
That love will find a way.
That I will always catch them when they fall.
I will teach them the lie that character, loyalty, friendship and generosity are more important than where they go to school and how much money their father earns.
That a persons gender, race, choice of lifestyle and life partner makes no difference whatsoever to their worth as a human being.
I will teach them that we can all live in peace.


I will teach my children lies 
and perhaps in doing so
my lies will become the truth.

What Lies do you teach your children? Are there any you would like to add?


5 thoughts on “I will teach my children lies”

  1. This is so poignant. I'm not a parent – I'm an auntie but still, it's heartachingly true that you want to give children the security of the right outcome, the right story and yet – how do you protect them from the worst? Maybe by building up their sense of what is good and right?


  2. I think so Maria, and perhaps also attempting to teach them to think – even question things for themselves. Auntie's are sooo important – as is the rest of the village!


  3. Hi Sandy, I can't remember what it was exactly that I thought I'd lie to her about. Just a general feeling that I want to shield her giggling, happy nature from the harshness of the world. I look at her face and I wish for her that she holds onto her joy and remembers it when anyone or anything tries to crush her spirit. Her confidence shines through so clearly these days and I worry that as she grows, she will be exposed to people who resent her exuberance and try to knock her self-confidence.

    I read somewhere a long time ago that childhood (for most kids) is the only time they are blissful – I think it may be Buddhist – because they are living in this bubble where the world is all good and they don't know what's ahead. I am paraphrasing (and not very well) as the term that was used was very specific and beautiful and really struck a chord.

    I know it's not possible (or healthy) to shield kids from everything forever, but I hope to teach her resilience to face things. It may be that “lying” or just explaining to her what I think the world should be like is a foundation upon which she will grow into a kind and positive human being.

    Hope my rambling makes sense! And hope you and your boys are doing well xx


  4. This is such a lovely post and was really moving for me to read, having struggled with the same issue over the last 15 years, raising our culturally Muslim-Christian son.

    After all that I choose to think of it as teaching optimism over pessimism and hope over despair.

    Julia x (ps I was married in Tobermory so things started for us on Mull too :))


  5. Lovely to hear that the post connected with you Julie – I think your focus on optimism and hope is so important! Good to have the Scotland connection also! (As an Aussie in Scotland optimism is easier on Spring days like we have had today!)


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