We lie to our kids. All day long the teacher lies, the tv lies, XBox lies and I'm the one who gets blamed for my kids being cynical. That's just good training on my part. There is a great line in the Jess Walter's book 'The Financial Lives of Poets' that I will paraphrase, "Who told you life is fair? I say we find that guy and kick his ass. He's done you a real disservice." Here are three lies, the inventor of whom I would like to track down and kick his arse.
1) You can be whatever you want when you grow up. (Not so much.)
Look kid, your mom is 5'2" and your dad is 5'6" so we can start ruling out pro sports where the metrics matter: football, basketball, baseball - I guess there is always bowling. Aim higher. Now, lets factor in your only slightly above average IQ, your middle class background, mediocre elementary and secondary educations and we can rule out all the jobs for which you don't need a name tag or get paid by the hour. Start to familiarize yourself with the forms and process required to receive government assistance, learn to work an espresso machine, write down your dreams on little slips of paper and then build a box in which you can bury them...in your parents back yard...because you don't have one...because you rent. This is what 'want' gets you. You 'want' more? Then move on to aiming, aspiring, doing, studying, acting, WORKING because otherwise you will be left with just wanting.
2) I love you UNCONDITIONALLY. (I call BS.)
Look kid, you are my progeny. My promise to the future of a world greater than the one I inherited. You are the vessel into which I will pour all my hopes, dreams and retirement savings. I love you and would take a bullet for you....today. However, lie to me, steal from me to buy drugs, turn to pornography, abuse your baby mama, abuse your kid, go all Ted Bundy and we ain't boys no more, you on your own. Now I owe the world an apology, my friends and neighbors retribution, my other children therapy and all I have left for you is advice I hope you follow, 'go die in a hole.' I will always love the baby you were, the promise you held, the potential you had but if you kill that baby, break that promise and make that potential into poison, well then, no, I will not still love you. God said it best, 'Honor your father and mother'. Honor.
3) You can have it all! (Makes me giggle.)
Look kid, remember that birthday party where they had cotton candy and soda and chips and cake and ice cream and a bounce house? The party had it all, everything a kid could want. Remember how that ended with you projectile vomiting all over the bounce house and eleven kids in your class at school? You cannot have it all, ever, not even as a fully functional, psychologically stable, financially successful adult that is nowhere near a bounce house. Women are especially vulnerable to this lie. Men, not as much, because we are simple - amoeba like simple - creatures motivated only by food, shelter, money and sex. If a man has enough money to have a roof over our heads, eat at 7-11 and buy a strange woman enough drinks to need the 2 year old condoms in his sock drawer - he has it all. When women want it all - they mean all: respect, love, fulfilment, security, career, marriage, children, firm breasts, flat tummies, trim thighs and legs that look great in this new pair of boots I saw online. Having it all meant you threw up on your classmates and someday that will be funny. This poor woman is now a divorced, anorexic, depressed, couch riding, pill popping cougar who lost half her friends and half her money to that no good unemployed lout that knocked her up with those expired condoms. You can't have it all. It's a lie.