KEYWORDS: breakfast, children, difference, lie, world, story


David Berg

—By Father DavidDFO11083/5/81

1. PTL! TYJ! THIS IS MAY 3, 1981, & WE WERE JUST DISCUSSING THE CHILDREN'S LYING & that they must be taught the difference between outright lying & mere pretending & play-acting as we do in our skits. They must be taught & know the difference between an outright lie, attempting to deceive, & a mere "let's pretend" or "let's make believe" or "let's act" when everybody knows they're acting & pretending & making believe or even kidding. They must know the difference between that & downright lying to deceive & not telling the truth!

2. I THINK PERHAPS IN THE CASE OF A CHILD SO YOUNG & INNOCENT, almost innocent‚ not quite, as Techi at two–years-old, I don't know if the would outright deliberately lie to get her way, although I'm sure she could be tempted to. But she's taught that it's all right to pretend & make believe & act out & have skits, so in her little mind she's in a sense pretending, making believe‚ she's acting out a little skit.

3. SHE'S FOUND OUT IT'S ALL RIGHT TO PRETEND, she pretends to give you a bite of her little meal she cooks in fancy on her little stove & she comes gives you a bite in her little fingers. There's nothing there, of course, but she's quite serious about it & she stirs things on the stove & she cooks & she serves it on a plate & she brings it to you. And of course you pretend to eat it when there's actually nothing there at all!

4. SHE'S A GREAT ACTRESS & LIVES IN AN AMAZING WORLD OF IMAGINATION & a world of make-believe & pretense, all a part of a child's natural fancy & in a sense perhaps a hangover from the almost wonderful world of fanciful seeming make-believe of the realms beyond, from which she came.

5. PERHAPS IT'S TRYING TO, IN A WAY, RECALL & TO RECREATE THAT MARVELLOUS WORLD THAT SHE HAS LEFT BEHIND to come to this World! And so she goes through this fanciful play-acting & pretending, all very cute but very serious, & you must cooperate & you must pretend with her & pretend to take the piece of cake, even if it's just a hunk of sand or a rock or nothing at all & pretend to eat it etc. & she's very happy!

6. CHILDREN ARE GREAT MIMICS‚ GREAT MIMES, & THIS IS MOSTLY HOW THEY LEARN, by imitation, because they imitate & are little "Sir Echoes" & like little tape recorders & can even imitate, not only your words but your tone of voice, your inflexions & your accent & the way you say it. They just do it, do whatever they hear; they imitate like a Polly parrot every little think you say & they'll imitate everything you do too!—Which could be very good if it's good, but it also could be very bad if it's not good!

7. YOUNG CHILDREN USUALLY SEEM TO WAKE EARLIER, & dear little Techi having gotten up earlier than the other children, already had her breakfast with Dora. But after she's had her breakfast with Dora already in the kitchen quite early, it could be that she feels that an hour later perhaps that she needs another breakfast, she's only had one breakfast & maybe she feels she deserves two.

8. BUT I'M MORE INCLINED TO BELIEVE SHE JUST USES THAT AS AN EXCUSE to get to go up where the other children are in their apartment & have breakfast with them so she can be with them & play with them & have Bible Story with them! So she thinks she has to put up a real good excuse & good story and good argument so she can persuade Sara to permit her to come upstairs & be with the other children, play with them & have fun with them & eat breakfast with them & have a story with them!

9. SO SHE'S VERY CLEVER, VERY SMART & when she sees Sara come down for something she says, "Nobody ever feeds me breakfast, I haven't had any breakfast. Can I go upstairs & eat breakfast with the kids & have a Bible Story with them?"—When she's just had a big breakfast with Dora! And this is an outright lie!

10. NOW‚ WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LYING & PRETENDING? She thinks she has to pretend that she didn't have her breakfast & make believe she didn't have it! To her it may seem like just another form of pretence & fancifying rather than outright deliberate falsifying, fantasising rather than an outright attempt to deceive. She wants to be very convincing in her argument & make sure that she persuades you‚ Sara, that she really does need to go upstairs with you & she has a very good reason & justification for it!

11. IT'S AMAZING WHAT LITTLE PSYCHOLOGISTS THEY ARE & she feels she must use a very strong argument: "Surely you wouldn't deny me, a poor little hungry child, little orphan down here, nobody taking care of me or feeding me! Surely you wouldn't deny letting me come up & be with you & the children & have a breakfast up there when I'm so hungry!" Little rascal! When she just got through eating!

12. BUT IN HER LITTLE IMAGINATION, HER LITTLE BRAIN, THAT TO HER MAY NOT SEEM WRONG AT ALL! It may seem just another form of skit—playing, make–believing or pretending: "Let's act like so-&-so, let's play this as so-&-so, let's pretend this is so-&-so." But I really believe you must try to teach children the difference between an outright lie‚ making an absolutely false statement in an attempt to either deliberately deceive or strongly persuade someone or even perhaps to get out of punishment for something!

13. WHEN IT COMES TO SERIOUS BUSINESS & ACTUAL EVENTS, not playacting or skits & not just fanciful pretending & "let's play like so-&-so", they must be taught the difference between the truth & the lie & that no outright lie & say an untruth, tell a fib or a story or whatever you want to call it, is not right or acceptable & they should not outright lie & tell something that is absolutely not true when it really is not so and didn't happen!

14. NOW I KNOW EVEN LITTLE DAVIDA SOMETIMES HAS A VIVID IMAGINATION & she wants to get a little attention, & when other people are telling funny exciting stories about what happened to them that day, she'll often imitate David & she'll make up a nice little story about something wonderful that happened to her in her vivid little imagination & her World of make-believe.

15. SHE POSSIBLY EVEN BELIEVES IT REALLY DID HAPPEN because she wanted it to happen & she wanted to have a story to tell, so she just dreamed it up & to her it became very real & she told it. You shouldn't put them down necessarily severely or sharply for it‚ but you might sort of amusedly kid them along a little bit:

16. "OH‚ YOU REALLY DID ALL THAT? MY! You don't say? Is that so? Well now, I heard so-&-so & I didn't know you had gone to town all by yourself & done all that & so-&-so & so-&-so!"—And kind of kid'm a little bit & rib'm a little bit even though they're not telling the truth & that it is all a big fanciful story from their imagination.


DIFFERENCE IN KNOWN PRETENDING, play-acting‚ "let's play like", "let's pretend", "let's make-believe"‚ "let's have a skit", "you be the father & I'll be the mother & Techi be a little girl" & all this sort of thing when they're known acting & pretending and dramatising!

18. TECHI'S A GREAT LITTLE ACTRESS, she is just tremendous, terrific, & I think she's gonna be a real dramatist! And she can really, really pretend & really act & really put on a drama & she loves it! So that in a sense she almost projects herself into that dream-world & becomes that person or really is living that part as some great actors have been able to do to make it very real & feel it & make their audiences feel it, & perhaps that's what she's going to do someday for the Lord!

19. BUT IN THE MEANTIME SHE MUST BE TAUGHT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TRUTH, the World of reality & a lie & the sort of in-between World of make-believe, "let's pretend", "let's play like", "let's have a skit", "you be the so–&–so & I'll be the so-&-so" & acting out a kind of a play.

20. THERE'S A KIND OF A SHADY GREY AREA BETWEEN TELLING THE TRUTH & LYING which is sometimes a little sort of shady in that we are not exactly telling the truth, but we're not really deliberately trying to lie either. The people who are our audience or listeners know & we know that we are acting & pretending & imagining & playing, so we're not really deceiving anybody.

21. BUT TO OUTRIGHT LIE WITH THE INTENTION TO ACTUALLY DECEIVE, to say she hasn't had any breakfast & "nobody gave me any breakfast & nobody ever gives me any breakfast so can I come eat breakfast with you?", I don't think she should be allowed to do that & I think she should be corrected.

22. BECAUSE ONCE YOU LET HER GET AWAY WITH THAT & YOU THOUGHT IT WAS CUTE & FUNNY & AMUSING—which of course it is to think she'd be so clever as to try to use that kind of a pretense & argument knowing you could hardly refuse a poor hungry little orphan, to take her upstairs from being alone & breakfastless to be with you & the children & tell her a story, etc., it certainly is very amusing & very clever & really funny in a way if it wasn't teaching her to lie & get away with it. (Maria: And that you think it's okay.) And that you think it's all right to let her do that.

23. I THINK IT'S FAR BETTER TO REPROVE HER GENTLY & LOVINGLY & say, "Now Techi, you know that Dora fed you a good breakfast this morning & you did have your breakfast & you mustn't say that nobody ever feeds you breakfast & you're hungry & didn't have any breakfast. You don't have to tell me a lie to get to go upstairs to be with the children.

24. "IF YOU WANT MORE BREAKFAST YOU'RE WELCOME TO IT‚ but don't say that you didn't have any breakfast & nobody ever feeds you breakfast & you're hungry when you've had your breakfast. You mustn't outright lie like that! But now if you want to come upstairs, why don't you just ask me plain and straight-out just say, `I'd like to come upstairs & be with the kids & have a Bible Story with them & with you. I'm lonesome down here & I'd like to come up & play with them & have a Bible Story. And I'd like to have a little more breakfast, too! I'm still hungry!'"

25. SHE'S A GROWING VERY ACTIVE, VERY BOUNCY LITTLE GIRL WITH TREMENDOUS ENERGY, & I wouldn't be surprised that if she sees more food, she'll eat it & apparently does. But you must not encourage her in outright lying & saying that she didn't have any breakfast & nobody ever feeds her breakfast in the morning & that she's very hungry & could she come up & be with you & eat breakfast, using that as‚ she figures, a pretty smart & very likely irresistible plea.

26. SHE MUST BE TAUGHT NOT TO LIE TO GET HER WAY or to persuade people, but to be honest & to be truthful & say, "Well, I've had my breakfast but I'd like to come up & eat a bit more with you folks & be with the kids & have a Bible Story up there too." OK?

27. WE DO SO MUCH IMAGINING & WE DO LIVE IN SUCH A WORLD OF THE SPIRIT, we're so other-Worldly & we have such out-of-this-World experiences & revelations & they hear stories of all kinds of amazing almost unimaginable experiences & places & people which seem almost perhaps to them strictly imagination & not necessarily true.

28. IT MAY GIVE THEM THE IMPRESSION THAT IT'S ALL RIGHT TO JUST TELL STORIES & to do all this imagining & having a great deal of pretense because of the amazing World of the Spirit in which we do live & which we have contact with & which seems almost unbelievable & unreal in some ways, so that they feel that it's all right to just create some fanciful World or events or stories of their own which sound a little bit like the ones they get from Grandpa!

29. BUT WE MUST TEACH THEM THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REALITY & IMAGINATION. We must teach them the difference between the truth & lying. I just don't feel that it's right to encourage a child to deliberately lie or to tolerate it or allow it no matter how cute or clever it may be! And how clever a bit of psychology it may be for her to give the irresistible plea that, "Nobody fixes me any breakfast & I'm hungry & I haven't had any breakfast. Can I come up & eat breakfast with you? I'm a poor little forsaken deserted orphan & lonely & hungry. Can I come up & be with you?"

30. BOY, HOW EARLY A CHILD LEARNS HOW TO WORK ON ADULTS & how to be persuasive & how to give almost irresistible arguments. Talk about child psychologists, children are the greatest psychologists there are, as I have written before! (See No. 915.) So please let's not encourage them in outright lying & outright deliberately telling an untruth to actually try to deceive you when they know it's not true!

31. NOW IF YOU KNOW THEY'RE KIDDING & they're just pretending, like the little piece of food she's pretending to cook & pretends to hand to you & all that, there's a sort of a common understanding between you, you know that of course it's all make-believe & the World of play-like & pretense & acting & imagining—which is a sort of a World in which children live because they're constantly imitating their parents & playmates even if they don't understand what they're saying!

32. I'M SURE I BROUGHT HOME NAUGHTY WORDS FROM THE PLAYGROUND & FROM SCHOOL & went around the house chanting them not even realising what I was saying or that it was naughty until my Mama caught me & washed my mouth out with soap! Well‚ I think that was a little bit strong!

33. I THINK SHE SHOULD HAVE FIRST PERHAPS CAUTIONED ME that those were naughty words & they just were not words that you say in polite society & as Christians & in our Family & they're not nice words, they're ugly words, bad words. Even Grandpa accidentally uses them once in awhile but they're not for children to use, maybe just for adults etc. But give them some warning‚ let them be informed first that they are naughty.

34. NOW ONCE A CHILD HAS BEEN INFORMED THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG & NAUGHTY & that they shouldn't do it & then they deliberately do it afterwards, then it's time for a stronger reprimand. My policy was two warnings & the third time was the charm or the harm in which I socked it to'm! First I warned them simply not to do it, it was not right! Second time if they did it again, I'd warn them‚ "Well, I told you once not to do it‚ but you've done it again. Now if you do it anymore I'm going to punish you!"

35. SO I DO THINK THAT CHILDREN SHOULD BE TAUGHT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT & WRONG & in this case between lying & the truth!—That there is a difference between pretending, play-like, play-acting, make-believe & outright lying with the intention to deceive you & hoping you'll believe what they say!

36. I REALISE IT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO TEACH A CHILD THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IMAGINATION & REALITY, lying & pretending. As I say, it's a sort of a grey area between reality & lying or reality & the World of make-believe & imagination. Our skits & all are a kind of a pretense & a make-believe‚ a play-like, play-acting sort of in between the truth & the actual deceit!

37. BUT WHEN EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT IT'S A PLAY & it's not exactly actually true & everybody's playing these characters‚ they're not actually the characters but they're pretending these things are happening & they're not really happening, then when everybody knows it's a play, nobody's being deceived & nobody's being persuaded to believe that it's really true or really happening!

38. IT'S JUST AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE REALITY. It's just a visualisation of the reality like an artist's conception of the truth, the best that we can do to try to depict it & visualise it! It's a visual aid, in a sense, to try to help us see what it might have been like or must have been like!

39. VIRTUALLY ALL DRAMAS & PLAYS & MOVIES & SKITS ETC. ARE PRETENDING, make–believe, let's play-like‚ acting, trying to show or depict or picture or visualise what the truth is like! But everybody knows, of course, that it's just an act & it's a play & it's pretending, it's a skit & nobody's being deceived into thinking it's really happening. They've got to be taught the difference!

40. I KNOW IT'S A LITTLE GREY AREA, KIND OF SHADY IN BETWEEN, but it is there & the children in our Family in particular who do a lot of dramatising & play-acting & skitting & that sort of thing perhaps particularly need to be taught the difference!

41.—THAT IT'S ALL RIGHT TO DO THIS WHEN EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU'RE ACTING & everybody knows you're playing, everyone knows you're pretending & everyone knows that it's just an act. But it's not right to put on such an act in a deliberate effort to deceive people into thinking it's true & that you really didn't have any breakfast & therefore you're really hungry & you need to go upstairs to eat breakfast with the other children. This is really not right!

42. IN HER LITTLE MIND SHE PROBABLY WAS PUTTING ON AN ACT, she was playing, pretending & hoping it would convince you that she should go upstairs! (Maria: And once she's done it & you've condoned it, then she thinks, "Of course it's all right to it!") Exactly! (Maria: This was a test, & now she thinks it's all right.)

43. ONCE SHE'S TRIED IT & IT WORKS, OF COURSE NATURALLY SHE'S GOING TO USE THE SAME BAIT AGAIN because it hooked you & she got her line & she got to go upstairs! But she must be taught that it's not right to outright lie & deliberately attempt to actually deceive you into thinking that what she's saying is really true!

44. AS I SAY, IT'S A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO TEACH THE CHILDREN THE DIFFERENCE between outright lying & outright untruth & make-believe story-telling & make-believe acting, pretending & playing-like. It's a little grey area there that you have to make sure that you distinguish between "what is a lie" & "what is truth" & what is sort of pretending & play-like & make–believe & acting & skitting which sort of lies somewhere in between!

45. MY FATHER WAS QUITE A RADICAL AT ONE TIME & HE FINALLY ABANDONED ALL MOVIES & FICTION ETC. He said it's all lies & comes under the category of "Whosoever maketh & believeth a lie"! Well, I think that was a bit fanatical & radical, but in a way he was right, particularly when people begin to think that the visualisation or the play is the real thing & they're taught finally to believe the phoney is the real, the fake is the real article then it's downright deceit & lying!

46. SO WATCH OUT & PLEASE TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE DIFFERENCE & don't tolerate outright lying!—Amen?