Is it okay to lie to your kids?

Does honesty always trump all other considerations?

What situations make lying for the Lord your family okay?

On Monday evening my young son (usually a great sleeper) had a difficult time staying in bed. On top of feeling lonely after his aunt went home earlier in the day, he said he was worried about earthquakes.

He didn’t know about the quake in New Zealand, but the subject came up a week ago when we took down a picture hanging above his sister’s crib. He asked why, and we explained that in case of earthquakes, it’s probably a good idea not to have stuff hanging above your bed… at least that’s what I read in Popular Mechanics or something…

He asked more about how earthquakes happen, and came away with an understanding that “the plates of the earth push together” and would make his room shake. To that he said, “Well, we need to keep those plates apart.”

Back to last night, with the fear mattering a lot more than any amount of reason could resolve (son, it’s not likely that we’ll have an earthquake, etc. etc.). I was about to give up when I looked up at my wife and said, “Maybe Mom can go get you an earthquake protector!” Mom ran downstairs, looked through the garage for something son had never seen before, and found a Push-on Light (without batteries, of course). She brought it back up and we told him it was an earthquake protector. He pushed the button a few times, and set it by his bed.

Granted, we didn’t tell him he had to push it, nor push it every 108 minutes.

“Mom, I like you, but, even with the earthquake protector I still feel a little bit lonely.”

We all sat together for a minute or two and then he agreed to go to sleep, and did not get up again.

I lied to my son.

With Santa Claus, at least I have never said, “hey Santa is real and you need to believe.” It’s always been, “YAY! SANTA!” but that’s about it. This time it was a lie in order to help him feel safe.

Is that okay? What do I do now?

UPDATE – He woke up the next day and said, “The earthquake protector helped a LOT!!!”