Lie Detector

We recently took a family trip to Fiji. I shared details about our scuba diving adventures in last week's story. You can find it plus all past stories on my website here.

After completing our scuba diving certification, Lazer and I found ourselves faced with a take-home test, relying entirely on the honor code.
As I sat down to take the exam, I was confused by the first question.
Feeling the weight of responsibility to complete it while in Fiji, I glanced at the test on my left and the scuba certification manual, containing all the answers, on my right.
Temptation loomed large, like a siren's call, promising an easy way out. Hours passed as I laboriously sought answers through the manual. I was cheating, and it was still hard.
As I wrapped up my test and headed for a massage, Lazer returned.
“Where have you been? We have to hand our test in today.”
“Mom said I could go deep-sea fishing,” Lazer said.
“Good luck,” I said. “Your test is on the counter.”
Twenty minutes later, I was about to get my massage when…
"Hey, Dad," Lazer texted me, "I'm done with the test. I'm going to hand it in."
I couldn't help but wonder how he had finished so quickly when it had taken me hours. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to play a little trick.
I texted back, "You're already done? That's impressive, Lazer. I'm proud of you."
I could almost hear his surprised smile through his reply, "Thanks, Dad!"
An hour later, I walked back into the villa.
"Lazer," I said, "I spoke to the instructor, and he caught you for plagiarism."
His face turned ghostly white. "What?" he stammered.
“Did you cheat?”
This was the real test…
“Yeah,” he said with his head hanging low. “Am I in trouble?”
I chuckled, "No, I made that up. I just wanted to see if you'd tell the truth, and I'm glad you did."
It made me wonder. Is it ethical to test our children to see if they'd lie? Either way it’s ironic that a test to determine if someone is lying often involves an element of deception itself.
I've found that it's way easier if you just don’t lie—you never have to remember anything!

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