Friday, January 8, 2010

Is it ok to lie to your children?

The theme of this posting is in reference to the Kite Runner, the book that was recommended to Jason S. yesterday.

Is it ok to lie to your children? Is it ok to lie to your children if you have a good reason? Like protecting someone or saving the family honor? The reason I bring this up is because that question plays a major role in the Kite Runner. Also, my husband and I happened to be watching an episode of The Sopranos this week that also featured the "lying to your children" theme.

In the Sopranos, Paulie, a major character, and one who is part of the Soprano mafia crew, is told by his dying aunt, "Mildred" that she's his biological mother. Mildred has been a nun for as long as Paulie can remember, but she got pregnant as an unmarried women back in her twenties. Paulie's aunt, "Gemma" pretended that Paulie was her son to protect Paulie's Mildred from the dishonor of unmarried pregnancy and the scrutiny of society. As you can imagine, Paulie was extremely upset upon hearing the revelation.

Would you be upset if you were the child of such a ruse? Would you forgive your biological and non-biological mothers? Which one would you feel was your real mother? I'm sure many adopted children would say that the parents who raised them were their true parents-their real mothers and fathers.

The Kite Runner also carries the theme of paternal/maternal disception. Please do not read further if you don't appreciate spoilers.

In the Kite Runner, the main character, "Khalid" is raised by his father, a wealthy man in Afghanistan. There are two servants living in the wealthy man's house-a father and son named "Rashid". They are treated well--like part of the family--but they are still servants. Rashid waits hand-and-foot on Khalid. We find out toward the end of the book that the servant father was once married to a beautiful, promiscuous woman. A long time ago, she had relations with the wealthy man while married to the servant. When she became pregnant, it was agreed that the baby would be considered the son of the servant man and his promiscous wife. All three parties involved agreed to engage in the elaborate lie. Rashid would be known as the servant's son, even though the real father was the wealthy man. The wife ended up running away, and the servant and Rashid stayed in the wealthy man's house for most of their lives. A few years later, the wealthy man ended up having another son, Khalid, the main character. Khalid, who so yearned for his father's love and approval, was so jealous that his father gave any attention, whatsoever, to Rashid, that he plotted to have the servant and Rashid thrown out of the house.

Upon leaving the safety of the house, the servant father and Rashid were subjected to the harsh realities of the Taliban, and misfortune befalls them in astonishingly harsh ways.

Toward the end of the book, Khalid finds out that Rashid, whom he mistreated so unfairly, was actually his brother.

The maternal/paternal lie not only affected the servant boy, but it also changed the life of the main character, Khalid.

Would honesty have changed the lives of all characters in the book? Probably. Would it have changed their lives for the better? What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment