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  • "Oh, man! Irina just texted me and wanted to know what time we can get together tonight! Should I tell her I'm sick?" asked my son.

    My 17 year-old had made casual plans this past weekend for the 4th but nothing definite was discussed. No details hashed out. Since school's been out he's been busy trying to plan get-togethers with different groups of friends. More times than not the plans would, disapppintingly,fall through. I felt bad for him whenever he would come to me and share the latest catastrophe.

    Kids his age are don't seem very reliable when it comes to making plans. Well, maybe it's not always their fault. There seems to be a number of reasons for it. Many of the kids (15-17) either aren't driving, don't have access to a car, maybe something better comes up , they aren't aware of upcoming family events and then have to cancel , they get grounded, or they have parents who just don't feel like driving their kids all over creation.

    In this economy, many parents are working 2 jobs (or longer hours) and are too tired to taxi their kids around. And Fort Lauderdale isn't a city that you can get around in easily without a car. The city is spread out and the transit system leaves a lot to be desired. Bike riding isn't an option as it can be risky. We have some crazy drivers here.

    One of his long -time friends, Samantha, invited him for a 4th ofJuly BBQ and he eagerly accepted. She was reliable and he was thrilled to have definite plans until he got the above-mentioned text.

    "Maybe I should tell her I have family stuff going on?" suggested my son.

    "Lie? NOT a good idea!" . I shook my head adamantly and was a bit taken aback about the suggestion to lie. Where on earth did he get that from?! What kind of kid am I raising??? I thought I had taught him better!!!

    But after a brief (real brief) moment of reflection, I had to admit that I'm often guilty of a "white lie" and he's been privy to some of them. "I'm going to tell Chris I can't make it to her Aunt's 89th b'day party. Not in the mood. I'll tell her we have family stuff going on that weekend" or, "I don't feel like going to the baby shower. I'll just say we have dinner plans then." Not proud of it, but there it is. How easily the lies flowed from my lips. Quite an eye opener.

    "Be upfront, It doesn't pay to lie. Besides, you kids post Instagram and Facebook status updates constantly...imagine if she sees one and you're in it! How would that look? Tell her the truth. She might be disappointed but she'll appreciate your honesty in the long run."

    He thought about it for a second and then sent Irina a text that he shared with me:

    "Hey Irina, I know we had talked about getting together but so many of my plans have fallen through lately. So when Samantha invited me to her BBQ , I accepted. Awkward. Next time I'll check in with u first. Sorry."

    "That's ok, not a big deal!" was the reply text.

    I put my arm around his shoulder and hugged him. "Now aren't you glad you didn't lie?" I asked my son I vowed to myself that in future I would avoid doing the same

    IMAGE CREDIT: free hand oil painting of Pinocchio (Walt Disney character) by Vincent Finocchi
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