by Fudia Muhammad
People who lie repeatedly are called liars; classified as untrustworthy and considered despicable. On the other hand, people who lie repeatedly to children for the sake of some tradition are generally excused and even enabled to help to keep the lie going. Why is it justified to continuously lie to our children while it is frowned upon in most other circumstances? Who said this was okay? Admittedly, we are all guilty of lying; but when it comes to lying for the sake of traditions– that Black people have adopted from our former slavemasters – the hoax becomes elaborate; and often lasts for many, many years. The three most oft-repeated lies that American parents tell their children concern the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy – all are made-up mythical, magical, imaginary characters.
It is never a good idea to lie to children; not in the name of playful fun or for the sake of preserving a fabricated tradition. Lying is anti-God; which also makes it anti-self. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated, “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Allah (God) created within us 14 billion brain cells. That’s an awful lot of brain cells! ‘And every brain cell,’ the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, ‘is created by God to think right.’ Allah (God) never created the brain to think wrong…when Falsehood is introduced, and men begin to entertain false ideas, false concepts; and take Falsehood for Truth; where men begin to think and meditate on that which is False, giving their lives and the power of their brain to that which is false, then you start destroying the power of the brain cell to bring up vision.”
The Bible teaches – “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). How could we have vision while nursing from falsehood which goes against the grain of our brain, destroying its power, one lie at a time? The terrible irony is that the optimal time for children to learn, birth to six years old, is also the same span of time in which they are bombarded with the lies about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Babies and toddlers learn so much faster than adults because not only are their brainsgrowing physically; but this is the time in which their cognitive development is accelerated. This means their brain is still being fashioned; but instead of taking advantage of this peaking mental acuity,we are introducing lies. Whatever goes on while something is being fashioned becomes a part of the very nature of the thing that is being fashioned. This goes for both truth and falsehood. Once brain cells have been destroyed, they cannot be restored; only Allah (God) has the power to replace our brain cells after death. And nothing destroys the brain cells created with God’s Truth, faster than Falsehood.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave his followers 16 Restrictive Laws and 10 Guiding Rules of Conduct that we strive to uphold everyday of our lives. One of his Guiding Rules of Conduct states, “No lying (speak the truth regardless of circumstances).” Regardless of the circumstance, the situation, the condition, the factor or the tradition; we should speak the truth! This is not easy to do; but it is required if we want to follow the example of the Father. We are taught that the one thing that God cannot do is lie. His very existence and the Truth that governs the creation of His Universe dictates that everything He says and every action He takes is THE TRUTH.
Good parenting does not involve lying. The external consequences of a so-called, “white lie,” may not be immediately evident – but what is happening to the brain cells of the parent who tells the lie and the brain cells of the child that is forced to receive the lie and make sense out of the nonsensical? Reindeer cannot fly! Jolly Old Saint Nick does not deliver gifts to every child on earth in one night! There is no Tooth Fairy! And bunnies do not lay eggs! This is not innocent fun. An “innocent lie” is an oxymoron. Lies cannot be innocent; every lie is embedded with a negative consequence.
We can easily prove that both Christmas and Easter were never intended to truly celebrate the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But if one believes that they were – then at least celebrate the Lord on those days. This is why we say, ‘Up with Jesus, Down with Santa!’ What is wrong with parents telling their children that they are responsible for those wonderful gifts? Tell them that it was mommy and daddy who put the money under their pillow. Then, tell them that Easter has nothing to do with bunnies, eggs, candy or new dresses; it is about our Savior, Jesus Christ‼ Be honest with children. They will eventually learn the truth anyway. We should not give our children a reason to ever distrust us as parents. We are hypocrites if we expect our children to be truthful with us, but we are not willing to model honesty for them.
If the devil is a liar, then the righteous must be the truth tellers. No excuses – we must stop this insanity. If we are being honest, keeping up these lies do more to serve parents in the eyes of their peers than it does for their children. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s mother would come down very hard on him and his brother for lying. She would say, “I’m gonna beat you more for lying, because a liar will steal and a thief will murder, so I’m gonna stop you at the lie.” Child psychologists are now bearing her witness. Studies show that the lies of a parent can have detrimental effects on their children’s behavior. The children are more likely to lie themselves, become cheaters and increase in deviant behavior.
According to the scriptures, truth is freeing for everyone who embraces it. It is the truth that makes us free. Lies keep us in mental and spiritual bondage. Let’s get away from deceiving our children for the sake of traditions. As we mature, we are supposed to grow closer and closer to Oneness with Allah (God). Immersing our children in falsehood for the first several years of their life is reversing their natural course towards God. “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy” (Proverbs 12:22, NIV). What a wonderful existence to be able to walk the earth secure because we know that we are among those whom Allah (God) delights!
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)