Dale McGowan makes a case for why parents should (in moderation and for a purpose) lie to their children in his latest column for Humanist Network News:
When my youngest asked, “How far away is the Sun?”, I said, “Twenty feet,” precisely so she would look at me and say, “Dad, you dork!!” When my kids ask what’s for dinner, I often say, “Monkey lungs, go wash up.” When the fifth grader doing her homework asks what seven times seven is, I sometimes say 47, because she should (a) know that on her own by now, and equally important, (b) know the wrong answer when she hears it.
Yes, yes, I make sure they end up with the right answer when it matters, and no, I don’t do this all the time. They’d kill me. But pulling our kids’ legs once in a while is more than just fun and games. For one thing, if every word from my mouth was a reliable pearl of factuality, they would get the unhelpful message that Authority Always Tells the Truth.
… By seeing to it that their childhood includes nonsense, and that some of it even comes from authority figures, I’m building their immune systems for a lifetime swimming in the stuff.
Atheist parents, especially, should teach their children that just because an adult says something doesn’t always mean it’s true.
The same thing applies to people who wear special clothing, or appear in front of a large audience, or sound like they know something the rest of us don’t. If they say something that doesn’t make sense or that you have doubts about, they should be questioned.
What a great lesson to teach them when they’re young.
(via Humanist Network News)