My sweet Katrina evacuee has twinkly bright blue eyes, a spikey blonde flat top, and a mouth that curls up in a sweet bowtie of a smile.
And he lies like a rug.
Even when it doesn't even matter, his first instinct is to lie.
No, mam, it wasn't me that threw the mulch.
No, the noise you saw coming out of my mouth was not from me.
Yes, I wrote her a thank you note.
Well, when his thank you note ended up reading I HATE YOU, I slapped myself on the head for being so gullible. When he looked up at me with those eyes, with that smile, I WANTED to believe. BONK! When will I learn?
But here's how I've been getting to the truth faster, more expeditiously:
"Well, E., here we are, out in the hall again, trying to work out the problem. The faster we get to what's true, the sooner we'll be done with all this and back into our day. That's how it's been working since you've been here, right E?
He agrees with a nod.
"So, sweetie. This is your chance to tell the truth."
I can't believe it, but this simple invitation, couched with a reminder about the realities of our day, has been working.
He is learning it's not the end of the world when he lies. He is learning we don't hold unreasonable, revengeful grudges. He is learning that lying might not be his only recourse when he's feeling up against the wall.
He comes to us with so much "baggage", not the least of which is rooted in losing everything when the hurricane hit. Add some neurological issues, a mood disorder, a likely genetic predisposition, and it's lucky lying is about the worse thing we're dealing with right now.
"This is your chance to tell the truth."
Truth. It's a powerful thing.