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13 May 2008 @ 09:58 pm
Paul Graham on Why We Lie To Kids  
There's a fellow named Paul Graham that writes some really amazingly insightful stuff. Unfortunately for most of you, his favorite topics are things like business, economics and software startups. Today, however, he published a really wonderful article about why we lie to children, and some of the mechanics of how we do it. I think it's a very good read, and I recommend it highly.
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Noahangelbob on May 14th, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
I suspect he considers "you have this identity and it comes with these personal characteristics" to be the lying part. If you said, "you're Jewish, which means you're likely to grow curly hair" that's probably okay, but if you said, "you're Jewish, therefore you will be educated, thrifty and naturally hated by those of German descent" you're probably saying something, ahem, suspect :-)

I see what you mean about the peer group mismatch. And I'm not absolutely against lying to children -- but I do see where it's a good idea to admit we do so, and examine the specifics of how.
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Krissyrightkindofme on May 14th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
There have been a lot of studies about the fact that telling kids that they are smart isn't necessarily good for them in the long run. The hard-working and enjoying learning parts are correlated with increased ability to figure out how to learn. :)
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Krissyrightkindofme on May 14th, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
Yeah.... I doubt I will avoid it either. :)
KJBcapnkjb on May 14th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
So wait, when my mom kept telling me I was the smartest person she knew, she was making a huge mistake? Aw crap. ;)
KJB: MURRAY!capnkjb on May 14th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC)
(Which is to say, Mom doesn't get out much.)
IANALqueen_elvis on May 14th, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I've always wondered how much lying we do to kids in order to protect them and how much is really about protecting the adults from hard questions or impossible explanations.
Emily: Whochalepa_ta_kala on May 14th, 2008 06:39 am (UTC)
Exceptional. Thanks.
Michael Higginssui66iy on May 14th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Primary lie Paul Graham tells his kids: "Don't worry honey, everyone uses LISP..."
nonlinearsystemnonlinearsystem on May 14th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
Paul Graham's greatest fears: his children will program only in Visual C++. And troll in their free time. And grow up to be VPs of failing megacompanies.
Katherine Donaldsonkatharos on May 16th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Aw Gee, now I have to wonder about my truth deficit. But I know I'm special, so I must not really have one.

Oy, raising kids is complicated.