Which Type Will You Be?

The story of George Washington and the cherry tree is not a true one. It is also, as we’ve written here before, not a story whose moral is about lying. It’s actually about the complex relationship between a parent and a child, one where the child trusts the parent enough to tell the truth, even when they have done wrong, and a parent who respects their child enough not to punish this kind of honesty.

There’s another story–this one true–about another American president. A young Jimmy Carter was in Plains, Georgia and his parents were having a house party. Unable to sleep because of the noise, Jimmy went out to sleep in his treehouse. A few hours later, he heard his father yelling for him but Jimmy, moody and naive, ignored his father out of spite. The next morning, his father–worried sick–demanded to know where he’d been. “Out in my tree house, Daddy,” the boy replied. “Didn’t you hear me call?”, his father said. And now Carter was confronted with the same choice as Washington. He knew he had messed up, but if he lied and said he was asleep, he wouldn’t get in trouble. Still, believing that lying was a sin, he confessed. “Go out to the garage and wait for me,” his father said. The reward for Carter’s honesty was the most painful whipping of his life.

Is that the kind of experience that builds trust between parents and children? That sends the message that honesty is rewarded–that it is a good thing? No, no it doesn’t. In the cherry tree story, Washington’s father is so blown away by his son’s honesty that he tells him he’d rather lose a hundred trees than hear a lie and he lets him go. That’s what Carter’s father should have done. Instead, he let anger and worry get the best of him.

Which parent will you be? What message will you send about truth and trust in this world?

Sign Up to get our FREE email.
One piece of timeless parenting advice, delivered daily.

Sign Up to get our eBook

“20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday”



Recent Posts



We’re going to tackle all the big themes of our time and of all time: Grit. Resilience. Curiosity. Compassion. Character. Unconditional love. Finding purpose. Dealing with stress. Masculinity. Female empowerment. Loss. Stillness. Truthfulness. Initiative. Creativity. Passion. Family. Fun.

Join Daily Dad now and tap into a community of dads all over the world dedicated to becoming the very best dad they can be. you’ll get a daily meditation on the above themes and more.