Is ‘Truthiness’ Part of Your Family’s Vocabulary?

by redpillpapa · 3 comments

in Book+DVD Reviews,Character,General,Health+Wellness

Doug Dennis and the Flyaway Fib is a new children’s book by author and illustrator Darren Farrell. I had the good fortune of meeting Darren recently at a local cafe in NYC, where I have met many interesting people who have become instant supporters of Red Pill Parents, and who in many ways already embody, through their philosophy and/or profession, the Red Pill ethos.

Darren is really excited about the positive reaction that his first book is receiving — and I’m excited because it covers a topic that I have not come across in children’s books recently (Pinocchio is definitely not recent): fibbing and its consequences – which are mostly on the fibber. The book also makes the point — very creatively — that once a person tells a fib, no matter how small, that lie grows and grows (just like Pinocchio’s nose). Once Doug Dennis is carried up into the stratosphere by his fib-powered balloon and he meets all the other fibbers in orbit, his lonely surprise gives him the courage to tell out the truth, in turn deflating his fib-filled balloon and returning him to earth. And once the truth is out, the results are unexpected.

After crossing paths with Darren, I immediately ordered Doug Dennis from Amazon. Less than two days later (thank you Amazon Prime) my daughter was introduced to a brand new story with a message that captivated her. She had another reasons to like the book, as there was a Korean language reference (her mom is Korean, and the language is spoken in our home). Then, being the maven that this Red Pill Papa is (a Tipping Point reference for those who are not familiar), I immediately set up an in-class reading at my daughter’s school and informed the school librarian about this terrific new book.

The lesson in this book dovetails beautifully with the other book I am reading (and which Red Pill Mama wrote a beautiful review of – see ‘The Biggest Job’ – Are You Valuing Achievement Over Character?), The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have by Laura and Malcolm Gauld, executives and directors of the Hyde Schools. I happened to be on the chapter “Truth over Harmony,” one of the authors’ ten priorities in a character- vs. achievement-based education system.  These priorities do not just apply to teaching students, but rather extend to the students’ families, teachers and other members of the community. What this priority teaches us is that if we place the value of telling the truth over preserving harmony, reaching deep within us to find the courage to give voice to the message that is truly inside of us, our moral compass will be much more sensitive and in tune.  The chapter begins with a quote from a sign that hangs above the entrance to every Hyde School: “The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

An example of placing truth above harmony is being honest in our relationships and not keeping feelings bottled up in order not to rock the boat on the home front.  Another example is saying “no” to our children, instead of saying “maybe” or “we’ll see about it later.” The truth may create more tension and conflict in the present, but it does not create false expectations, and it lets your children know that that you are being truthful with them, even if they do not like what they hear.

Fibbing is a nicer word for telling a lie. Perhaps we can justify that a fib is not as bad as a lie, but Red Pill Parents will recognize that using either in our life, whether communicating with our children or  interacting as individuals in society, are not examples that we want to set for our children. How much more empowered and clear of mind do we feel when we confront the truth and speak it!  I believe it’s an ongoing exercise for every one of us, but the more we do it, the more aware we become when we tell a little fib or simply bury the truth in order to preserve harmony in the moment or on an ongoing basis.

You may be saying to yourself, “But there are things that my child is not ready to know. Am I lying to him by not telling him the full truth?” Red Pill Papa’s real-life answer would be this: when these situations arise, we must ask ourselves, “Am I going to lie to my child about this, or simply provide an explanation with limited, appropriate information that satisfies my child’s curiosity?” Also, take a play or two from the politicians: if you don’t want to answer a question, ask a question in return or simply change the subject. If it’s a question posed by a 4-year-old such as “Where did I come from?” you can be creative in your answer, providing just enough information, but not rocking your 4-year-old’s world just because you want to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth (in our house we call this truthiness after learning about its expert application from Stephen Colbert). When my daughter, who is pretty terrified of going to the dentist, went for a routine check-up, and we learned that she had four cavities and needed up to three root canals (I know! that’s a post within itself. Briefly, make sure your 4 year old gets x-rays. Trouble could be brewing below the surface.), we pow-wowed with the dentist and decided to tell our girl that she needed to have her teeth painted, opting not to us the C word, as we all agreed that the whole truth in her case would cause more harm (as in fear, anxiety, and future mistrust of the dentist) than good.

So where does all of this leave us? First, with two great book recommendations (see our Amazon Widget, otherwise known as “Red Pill Reference,” for links to Doug Dennis and the Flyaway Fib and The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have). Second, I give us a challenge as Red Pill Parents, to begin to go through our daily lives continually asking ourselves, “Am I valuing truth over harmony?” The character this builds in us will in turn influence that of our children. Third, we may want to do some advance prep for the questions that we know may be coming down the pike from the inquiring minds of our Red Pill Progeny. The better job we do in feeding them the right information, the less backpedaling we will have to do in the future — and we will have laid a better foundation of facts to build upon when they are ready for the whole truth.

- Red Pill Papa


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Speaking of taking candy …
September 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

baj May 12, 2010 at 7:21 am

what age group would this book be for?

redpillpapa May 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Doug Dennis and the Flyaway Fib is an illustrated story book. I would recommend it for children 3 years and older. Red Pill Mama says that Lilly would love it!

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