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The Truth About Lies

Author: Adrianna and Ryan Walden
Published Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sophia was 7 years old when we took our new puppy, Maddie, to the dog park for the first time. Before going, I researched the park, read all the rules, and registered her. I read that children had to be 8 years old to go inside the gated area designated for doggy playdates. I didn't give it much thought as Sophia would be 8 in four months.

We met family members at the park, and Sophia was super excited to watch Maddie play with the other dogs. As we walked towards the fenced-in dog area, a park ranger stopped us and asked if our dog was registered. I said yes and handed him the dog pass.

He looked over to Sophia and asked, "How old is she?" Suddenly all eyes were on me. I had a big decision to make in that moment. I looked at Sophia and my family and then to the park ranger. I replied, "She is 7 years old.”

The ranger quickly told me she had to be 8 to go inside, so she’d have to stand outside the gate.

Sophia burst into tears. Someone from inside the gated area asked, “Why didn’t you just say she was 8?” I replied, “Because that would be a lie.”

Yes, part of me really wanted to tell a "little white lie." If I had, we would’ve been on our merry way to puppy paradise. Instead I had a crying child on my hands. It probably wouldn't have made any difference that a child 7 years and 8 months old was inside those gates, but it would've made a difference in my daughter's heart.

What the person encouraging me to lie didn't understand was that small things turn into big things later. It’s like the saying, "the little foxes spoil the vine." It’s not one big fox that sabotages the harvest, but the accumulation of the little foxes who keep coming back that does the most damage to the vine. Sophia needed to see and hear that there were no exceptions to telling the truth. I believe that if I don't model appropriate behavior, it is unrealistic to expect it from her.

So next time you're tempted to tell a little lie, think about your vine. Do you want to spoil it, or preserve it?

to learn more about child development and parenting, attend one of our free CHKD Parent Academy workshops presented by Virginia 529. See our class schedule here.



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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 12 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.