Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

It's a sad fact that most of the children I teach only know traditional tales if Disney have turned them into a film. Now I love a good animated film (unlike my friend MrsB, but frankly she's a nutjob) and have nothing against Disney but I do think our children are missing out. The first few years at school are meant to be fun and so the curriculum is largely based on fairy stories, folk tales and nursery rhymes but time and time again we find that we're starting from scratch as the children are more familiar with the songs of Michael Jackson than Mary Had a Little Lamb.

I can't help thinking they're missing out on more than just fun. Traditionally stories were also teaching aids. Cinderella taught us that we shouldn't be cruel to stepchildren (an important message given the mortality rate during childbirth until the twentieth century), Beauty and The Beast taught us the importance of looking past externals to the true character within and Puss in Boots taught us the importance of fabulous footwear. Of course the best of these have to be Aesop's Fables. I love using them at school as they're short, simple and pithy. I get the children to reproduce them as comic strips, or act them out with puppets, or retell them in their own words and I hope they learn from the message as well as achieving some literacy goals.

It seems to me that it's not just children that could learn from these fables...

I have a friend who is kind, generous and fun to be with but tells lies. It started a long time ago when he would exaggerate a little for comic effect. Fair enough. We all knew it was an exaggeration and had no problem with it, especially as the stories were amusing. Then stories started to be told about what he had said to someone. You know the type of thing,

" And the girl in the shop was too busy talking to her friend so I got the manager and said ' Your staff are treating me appallingly I'd like you to reprimand them', so he sacked the girl and I got a £50 gift voucher"


That's what he wanted to say, but it didn't occur to him until he was half-way home.
Once again we let it slide because we've all told someone we said something when really we didn't think of the witty rejoinder until we were in bed that night, alone.

And then he took it to a new level. Following the breakdown of my marriage I did the normal stalkbooking, and, as is inevitable with these matters, just succeeded in upsetting myself. My husband's new profile picture showed him being hugged by a male friend and looking for all the world like the happiest gay couple you've ever seen. I was distraught, not by my husband's sexuality, which was no shock, but by suspicions that he'd moved on within days of leaving me. One night my friend was round and I showed him the picture. Did I get words of comfort and support, did I get told to stop being so silly, that was X who'd been to my house, who was straight, who had a girlfriend...? No! I got told,

"Oh yeah, I know him, he's gay. He's out, he's on the scene, I know him."

A lie. A stupid lie. A lie that, had I bothered to believe him, would have really hurt me. My friend was so busy showing off that he failed to remember that one of the men in the picture was my husband; the man who had stood in front of an altar and promised to love me forsaking all others. He totally ignored the fact that this was someone I was still in love with.

I looked at my friend and it dawned on me that he was more concerned about telling a story and being the centre of attention than in my pain and something changed. I started to notice other fibs. A holiday we'd been told about last year- complete with details of who he'd met and where they'd gone- didn't actually happen. A night out clubbing in Birmingham was related to HullBestFriend but when I asked about the city he said he'd never been. HBF and I talked about it and realised there were discrepancies in many of his stories and in some cases we'd been told completely different things. And we started to wonder what, if anything, we could believe.

So that's the moral of my story, and of Aesop's, be careful about telling lies because the time may come when people don't believe anything you say. HBF and I are still friends with The Boy Who Cried Wolf but any time spent with him is immediately followed by frantic phone calls where we compare notes and marvel over his flights of fantasy. I'm not sure how he'd feel if he knew but I know that I'd be mortified. I'm not saying I've never told a lie as there are times lying is the less hurtful thing to do but you can trust me.

Picture from


  1. Also. You shouldn't tell lies because the truth has a horrible way of getting out anyway.

    Especially if you piss. it. off.

  2. Of course it does. Inevitably there will be witnesses who know the truth.

  3. i know ALOT of people like this and sometimes wonder if i attract them?!


Reassure me someone is reading; leave me a comment!