When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my Dad gave me a piece of advice over the kitchen table, as we were doing something else - playing chess or something, possibly. I don't know what prompted it (maybe the story below), but I remember it very clearly, because even at the time I was immediately aware that this wasn't the usual sort of advice a Dad would give to his 8-year-old daughter, but also it seemed to me immediately true and valuable. It was this:
"I'd say, Anne - if you lie - and obviously, don't lie; it's a bad thing, so don't lie (and there was a certain amount of "blah blah *wink*" about his manner there). But if you *do* lie - if you *do* lie - lie until the end."
My God. Possibly the most pragmatic, best advice I've ever had. I think we may have been talking about an incident that happened at school, which I have just reminisced about on the Facebook group. Something happened in primary 5 - I can't remember what - and the teacher finally narrowed it down to three boys, and made them stand up at their desks while he interrogated them, waiting for one of them to crack, which one of them finally did. And I remember thinking at the time that if he had only held out, Mr. Jamieson would have had absolutely no way of knowing who had been culpable, and would have had to give in, given that he had to get on with teaching us all.
Those of you who are parents: if you are not too shocked by such a move, I'd heartily recommend you give your children the same advice. :o) For one thing, the respect you'll get for suggesting something so humanly honest will echo down the years, as this has with me.