truth from the mouths of children


I think that my son’s first word might be “uh-oh.” He says it every so often when he breaks things or drops things or falls over, but also when he runs his toy truck along the window sill. Either he doesn’t know exactly what it means, or else that little truck is in serious danger of falling off the window sill. Most of the time, though, he just babbles: da da da, li-thr-li-thr. We say real things back to him as though it were a conversation. Da da da da da. Oh, do you think so? Li-thr-li-thr! Yes, that’s true. Prema said that one earlier today: Yes, that’s true. I thought about that for a while, because we really had no idea what he was saying, so how could we know if it were true or not? Then I thought maybe children don’t know how to lie, so it probably was true. I remember my first lie, about that cookie that mom asked me if I’d eaten, and I stood there in my crumb-faced glory and thought about it for a few moments before saying, in that questioning tone that you use when you’re experimenting: “ummm… no?” I didn’t lie very much though; my parents had a policy that if we told the truth then we didn’t get in trouble, so I learned pretty quickly to just say what I’d done. It took me a while longer to learn to say what I was really thinking, and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to speak what is really, really true. To be really truthful means that you are full of truth. Very few people attain this.