Are Your Pants on Fire?

As a kid, do you remember saying, “Liar, liar, pants on fire”?  Or am I recalling the rhetoric from the last Presidential election campaign?  I thought this picture from the Gospel Tract Society captures the sentiment of the 9th Commandment well.

As Leadership Ethics Online points out, the American people have had to endure regular news of scandals in business and government, all based on misconduct covered over by lies.  In fact, many Americans are so accustomed to lying leaders, they are cynical.  Lying has become the rule instead of the exception.

Leadership Ethics Online goes on to note that a series of U.S. Presidents have engaged in conduct some charged was impeachable:  Nixon (Watergate), Reagan (Iran-Contra), Clinton (lying under oath), and G.W. Bush (false information to Congress regarding weapons of mass destruction).  Clinton was impeached, and all of the others either resigned before impeachment was completed, or the impeachment proceedings never passed Congress.  In either case, their moral authority was eroded.

Out of This World Leaders must choose a different path.  Maintaining our credibility calls for special character.  We can learn a lot from Richard Wolfe’s book on Character of Christian Leadership.

Click here to continue.

Trust: The Foundation for Relationships

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. - Abraham Lincoln

As parents, we are the most important role models for our children. Psalm 51:5 notes that our kids are born with a sin nature, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” With that comes a propensity to lie. Dr. Elizabeth Berger, a child psychiatrist and author of Raising Kids With Character, notes that an occasional lie about homework, chores or toothbrushing is not unusual. She explains, “Children who are anxious, who feel that they can’t handle some kind of situation, may lie. It could be a sign of any number of stresses that the child is under.”

When a child or adolescent lies, parents should first take a hard look in the mirror. Are our kids seeing us model the importance of honesty at home and in the community? Fortunately, I did.

Let me recount a story I distinctly remember from my elementary school. I was in the first grade, and we would walk from our classroom across campus to the library to read using timed reading machines. I was using a pencil from the library and accidentally took it with me. When I got to class, I realized my mistake and asked the teacher if I could return the pencil. I returned it to the library, and the librarian made such a big deal of it that it made a lasting impression nearly 40 years later! I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but honesty truly is a rare commodity…

I’ve found that to be the case in the workplace as well. The best book I’ve read on the subject is Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust. Covey notes that when trust goes up, speed improves, and costs of doing business go down. He also notes that to build trust, we must first start with ourselves.

Click here to see my March 2014 summary of The Speed of Trust.