No matter how much you deny your truth
There is always someone who knows
And you have to live with the fact
That they do know.
I used to work with kids. Kids who had gotten into trouble. One day I was left in charge. The director was gone, I was next in line to make decisions, and there was a bit of a situation. Something had happened. As part of our program we focused on responsibility and consequences. The consequences were not just negatives, consequences can also be positive. You act, and as a result of your action, you have a consequence. How you act is up to you. This time there would be a consequence that none of the kids wanted to deal with.
None of the kids wanted to own up or fess up.
They were all pointing fingers. They were all denying.
In a rare moment of wisdom I brought all of the kids together in the office, with a brilliant counselor and myself. Quite honestly I felt I needed the support and possibly the intervention if I couldn’t resolve this. I sat the kids in a semi circle and the counselor and I faced them.
Again, I asked what happened.
Again, nothing but blame and denial. I waited a few minutes and then stopped the pointless conversation.
I told them that within this room was every single person who knew exactly what had happened. And every single person can tell whatever story they want to tell. But, regardless of what you say, there is someone in this room who knows if you are lying. And that person will forever know you as a liar. Even if you’re scared, or worried it’s going to impact your program and you end up having to stay longer, there is a truth.
And this truth is known by someone else.
That person who knows, you may like, or even worse, don’t like. But they are sitting right here, right now, knowing you are lying.
That’s what they will know about you.
I had brought the counselor in as my support.
She sat back, placed her hands on her crossed knee, nodded at me and remained silent with me.
The first one spoke up and told his part, then the next child, then the next. Every one of them told me what happened. We had a good talk after that. The counselor led us into some thoughtful discussion. I’m sure it didn’t change their lives forever. But for that moment, those kids didn’t want to be known as liars. They didn’t want someone else walking out of that room knowing something about them that would be difficult to change later.
Today, I so often want to bring people into a room with me and that counselor. And say – look, there’s a truth here and you aren’t telling it. You can tell whatever story you want to tell. But someone, and it might be someone you don’t like, will leave here knowing you are a liar. And you can never change that. Someone will forever know you as a liar. And you will have one hell of a time ever changing that. Because it’s not an opinion. It’s a truth.
I think about that night often. I don’t want there to be anyone who can look at me and know a truth I didn’t own. And truthfully, it’s not easy to look at someone, and know their truth.