When I was growing up, my parents taught me that honesty was always the best policy. In the first place, my parents said, God wanted me always to tell the truth, and in the second place, they expected me always to tell the truth. In fact, my parents said, I would not get in trouble if I just told them the truth. The only time I needed to worry about being in trouble was if I lied. Many people have been told those same things by their parents, I expect. But perhaps, like me, many have discovered that we got in trouble for lying and for telling the truth, regardless of promises to the contrary.
My family also taught me to shade the truth. They taught me by example. For instance, I would hear my father tell someone how special the apple pie was, thanking them for it, and then come home and say how awful it had tasted.
No, he never told the person that their apple pie was delicious, but he led them to believe he liked it. My older sister would talk about an outfit someone had worn, for example, and when asked what she had thought of it, would say it was lovely. At home, however, she said just the opposite -- the outfit was not attractive and didn't suit the woman, but she didn't want to hurt her feelings.
One of my aunts was famous for having her child answer the phone and then, if she didn't want to talk to the caller, have the child say she wasn't home. To cover that lie, she would go outside and stand on the back porch until the child hung up the phone, and then would laugh and say, "Well, I wasn't really in the house,