Friday, December 30, 2011

On the alert for Fact Stackers

Interesting how kids can totally throw you off the scent of something they are doing that is not quite right.

"So why were you late coming home?" you may well ask.

"Brian got hurt and had to get stitches"

"What happened?  Did he fall?"

"Yeah, he tripped or something and then I went to find his mom."

"Why didn't you call me?"

"He was really hurt, Mom, I couldn't stop to call..."  as he wanders off to the kitchen to see what kind of snacks there are before dinner.

"So that took you two hours to find his mom?" you ask, following your distracted son.

"I dunno, can I eat this?  I'm starving..."

Something is fishy - you know that if your child's friend really smashed his face into the concrete, needing stitches and an urgent search for his mother, your child, who hates the sight of blood, would not be behaving so casually and sending signals to forget the whole subject and let him eat.

Only later, much later, do you find what you suspected.  You were scammed by a fact-stacker.  Your sweet little one did tell you truths... just conveniently ordered to create a harmless story, with significant other facts left out.

So what happened?  Your angel and the aforementioned Brian, got into an argument that turned into a fight, that led your sweet angel to try out a jujitsu trick he saw on YouTube, sending Brian face-first into the sidewalk, busting his nose and lip and screaming for revenge.  Your angel child sees blood, turns around and runs the other direction, just as Brian's mom drives around the corner in her car.  Panic ensues and your sweet angel has been hiding in the park for two hours, hoping that everyone will forget what happened.  You find out all this of course, when you call Brian's mom.

Why did he lie?  Why did he run away?  Easy.  He was scared of getting in trouble.  Why did he fight?  There could be many reasons and a combination of many reasons why he felt he had to argue, then use violence, then run, then stack his facts, and hope against hope that no one will ever find out.  Your angel is frustrated, scared, and living like a wild animal on survival mode.  He needs you to help him sort out his very complicated ten-year-old life. 

Fact stacking is interesting, because there are some people who don't outgrow it.  Adults who still feel a need to twist and rearrange the facts to make themselves look just a little better, might be forgiven if the subject was why you just ate that slice of cake.  "It was his birthday and he wanted me to."  Yeah, but you ate the cake after you said no up front, but then snuck into the kitchen for a slice when you couldn't resist it any more...

But when the subject leads to important issues of why you were found in the bar last night - "I was inviting them to church..." or why your car smells like marijuana, "It's the leather seats, I think someone threw up in the car when I loaned it to my cousin..." or why your ex-boyfriend keeps sending you messages on Facebook, "He's just a friend..." - you find yourself in the territory of the devil.  No one is as expert a fact-stacker as Satan himself.  Just read the smooth talking arguments he tried on Jesus while He was fasting in the wilderness.  

From your children to your friends, to yourself, be intolerant of this very easy trap to fall into.  Have no tolerance for stacking, twisting or hiding the facts.  "...for your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you."  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. But that implies that I would have to know...sort of...honest with myself and others. And we can't have that, now can we.

~ Pgilio