Pinocchio is a wonderful character. I like him because he’s mischievous, but at the same time, he has a good heart. It’s such a pity that his nose has to grow every time he tells a lie. Now that is a fascinating fact for my four-year old daughter, Sofia. We were reading Pinocchio’s book a few days ago, and we happened to have this conversation:
M: why does Pinocchio’s nose grow?
S: because he told a lie.
M: what lie did he tell?
S: he said “lie”.
In that moment I realized.
M: what is a lie?
Sofia smiled as if I’d asked a stupid question.
I thought it was important to explain what a lie was, after all Pinocchio’s nose size depended on it.
M: what colour is your pyjama?
S: it’s white.
M: now, if I said that your pyjama was yellow, that would be a lie.
S: but it’s not yellow! It’s white!
M: what did you have to eat for dinner tonight?
M: if I said you had chips for dinner, that would be a lie.
S: can I have chips for dinner tomorrow?
No, it wasn’t really working. I had to try something else.
M: Yesterday I found some cereal stuck between the cushions in the sofa. Who put that there?
Sofia looked up. I bet she was going to blame one of her cuddly toys. But she raised her hand.
S: I did it!
My jaw dropped. I had to find something more serious.
M: I noticed that someone has scribbled on the kitchen wall with some pens. Who could that be?
Offence punishable with no chocolate or treats. Surely no child would admit to that.
S: Sofia did it!
I shook my head in disbelief.
My daughter is incapable of lying. Not because she’s a virtuous girl (see cereals stuck in sofa and scribbled walls), but because she doesn’t understand the concept yet. So this must be true for most young children?
It makes me wonder, how, why and when we learn to lie. Because even if we try not to, somehow we do it, we lie even to ourselves at times, don’t you think?