My Bad Reputation

My Bad Reputation

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

My Bad Reputation

A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future.

~Author Unknown

Every day after school my parents made me sit and write… “I will not tell a lie! I will not tell a lie!” I repeated the sentence over and over until my hand felt as if it might fall off.

It was the middle of third grade and I am not sure what had gotten into me. I lied for no reason at all and about the dumbest things. I lied that I had eaten all my dinner, when in fact I buried it in the bottom of the trashcan. I lied that I had made my bed, when clearly by entering my room it was obvious I had not. I lied that I had brushed my teeth; with a quick check it was obvious the toothbrush wasn’t even wet. My lies were not hurting anyone, but for some reason I felt the need to say things that were not so.

My parents tried everything to understand why I felt the need to make up stuff. I was grounded; I was watched closely so that I did what I was supposed to do, I was talked to and lectured while they tried to get to the bottom of where my poor behavior was coming from.

Was I looking for attention? As the middle child, maybe I wanted attention I wasn’t getting. I soon realized the new attention I was getting was horrible. I was labeled a liar and my parents did not trust me. I promised to stop telling lies.

A few days later my sisters and I were invited to spend the weekend with my aunt. We all loved the times we were invited to Aunt Kim’s house. She did not have children of her own so she spoiled us with her time. Not much of a cook, she gave us the perfect food for a third grader — hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. She took us roller-skating at a park with a long path and she was an amazing artist so arts and crafts were a big part of our afternoons. She had cool pencils, erasers and other supplies that any young girl would love to get her hands on.

The day finally arrived for the fun to begin. As my parents dropped us off and visited a few minutes they made it a point to tell my aunt to keep an eye on me and to not let me fall back into my world of silly lies. I was embarrassed and angry but when they pulled out of the driveway I forgot all about their lecture.

Then it happened… sometime that day someone took one of Aunt Kim’s good art erasers and rubbed it across the entire top of the TV. The eraser ruined the shiny finish on the TV’s casing. When Aunt Kim discovered the destruction all three of us were called into the TV room and asked to confess. Nobody did! Boy was she mad. I had never seen that side of her. She told us how disappointed she was and that someone would have to take responsibility. Again, nobody said a word. The next thing I knew she was on the phone with my parents and they were on their way to pick me up.

It had to be me! I was the liar. No amount of protesting could convince any of them that I had not committed the crime. I was taken home and sent to my room for the rest of the day. I begged and pleaded my case, but no one listened. Why would they? I had been telling lies for the past few weeks so of course it had to be me.

I stayed in my room the rest of that day thinking of all the things my sisters were getting to do without me. I was labeled a liar and now I sat alone with nothing to do. My parents finally let me out for dinner. And then there was a knock at the front door! Aunt Kim was standing there. I could not believe it. I was sure she and my sisters were already watching a movie from her big collection. Why had she come? It turns out my younger sister finally felt guilty! She confessed that she was the one who rubbed the eraser on the TV. Aunt Kim had come to get me. I was invited back!

Funny, I don’t even remember being mad at my sister. I learned a valuable lesson about lying. No matter how big or small your lies, once you are labeled a liar earning trust takes a lot of work and time. I promised myself right then and there to never lie again.

~D’ette Corona

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