10 Feb “Leading and Lying” by Kitty Holt
In my 11-year-old mind, the current situation was unacceptable and I didn’t see it changing. Thus, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Boys and girls were not allowed to play together at recess. Thus, because the boys beat the girls to the soccer field every day when the recess bell rang, the boys got to use it every single day, which relegated the girls to monkey bars, swing sets, and jump ropes. I didn’t even like soccer, but this was unfair.
Today was going to be different.
In the morning, I told all the girls that the rules had changed and we could now play soccer with the boys at recess. My friends didn’t ask any questions, they just took my word for it. At recess time, we ran to the field and played soccer with the boys, who were surprised but didn’t seem to mind. This lasted for just minutes until some very angry teacher aides came over and demanded to know what was going on.
Minutes later, I was in the principal’s office with all my friends, while the principal got to the bottom of the situation. I got in trouble for lying. My friends got the third degree. “What if she (referring to me) told you that I gave you permission to leave the school grounds at recess and walk to the local donut shop and buy some donuts,” he asked my friends with anger in his voice, “would you believe her?” Without hesitation and in all seriousness, they all said “yes” — which was not the answer he wanted. After more lecturing about the wrongs of lying and following the crowd, we were dismissed back to our classroom.
Although my age was barely into the double digits, I found it very sobering that my friends just admitted that, even though I had lied and steered them wrong that morning, they would believe me again if I told another lie. For some reason, they were following my lead… but was I being a good leader? Absolutely not. Was lying to them a way to get what we all wanted? Absolutely not.
Although nearly four decades have passed, that scene in the principal’s office is etched in my mind.
A leader who lies… is not a leader at all.