‘Talking’ Sto. Niño and kids who lied

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Sunday, February 2, 2014


“CHILDREN have not yet learned, and fools would never learn, that it is dangerous to lie.” -- Proverb

IN SIMPLIFYING the proverb, many of us take it to mean that children and fools never lie. The “never” thing promptly knocks that sense down as everyone--child or adult, fool or wise--at times lie.

The Supreme Court comment that kids make more reliable witnesses than adults must allow for this handicap: children have “limited memory, communication skills” and have “greater suggestibility.”

A judge would’ve a better crack at verifying truth-telling. But who does that court function when kids tell an incident to others?

Three youngsters (three, four, six) came up with this story: one found a “doll” that “talked” and showed it to his pals who wanted to dump it, when it asked them not to.

The doll was an icon of the Sto. Niño, not unlike like other images sold at churchyard or street-side.

No one diligently assessed the story. The first people who heard it accepted the children’s tale.

News reporters didn’t, or couldn’t do, better under legal and ethical rules in interviewing kids.

Warning

A thing or two missed by the public: no mention of the persons who dressed it up and publicly displayed the icon and why; the standard warning about any alleged miracle was underplayed.

Follow-up stories did shoot down the claim of the boys, one of whom admitted to a priest that they lied.

That shouldn’t surprise parents and teachers who deal with children up close and are familiar with their occasional flights of fancy.

[paseares@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 03, 2014.

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