To Tell or Not to Tell

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Jun 8, 2011

by Lianne Castelino

Young children tend to delight in reporting the antics of siblings, strangers and schoolmates.  The really young ones likely don't know any better and as they get older, some kids relish in getting someone else in trouble or another reason.  Tattling is, for the most part, discouraged by parents, unless danger lurks.

So my question is, when should a parent be allowed to 'tattle', expose, bring into the open a given situation?  Under what circumstances?  Danger, injustice, dishonesty or a combination of both?

Does flagrant cheating by parents in a kids' baseball game, for example, which is governed by rules and a code of conduct constitute dishonesty which in turn should be reported?  I wonder?   How about when the cheating also involves intimidation of the umpires, most of whom are tweens and teens themselves, for the express purpose of winning the game?  Should someone blow that whistle and expose that questionable behaviour.   And how about if the cheating occurs throughout a game, while the opposition coaching staff fume (silently) at the repeated injustice, as their team is getting beaten and as kids ask why was that called out coach, when everyone with the slightest baseball acumen and cursory knowledge of the rules of that league know full well that the call should be have good?

What really gets to be interesting is when certain parents repeatedly cheat to the point that it becomes a well-known fact, yet that behaviour is nutured and fostered because no one else stands up to red flag it?

It is a slippery slope, isn't it?  One risks being ostracised by league officials, risks league officials not believing the story, risks being alone with no one else to vouch for the dishonest behaviour.  Who needs that?

Who wants to stir the pot?  And who in their right mind would willingly welcome potential confrontation?

It can be a maddening conundrum for those involved but does it have to be?

Is this not just a basic, even remedial case of right versus wrong?  Arent' we trying to teach our kids, from in-utero how to follow the rules, tell the truth, stand up for themselves, do the right thing?

Don't cheaters always get caught?  And doesn't each one usually get what they deserve regardless of if they are cheating in a minor league sport or lying about taking steroids in Major League Baseball?

Do the little minor league fibs sow the seeds for the bigger, more creative major league lies?

I've come to the conclusion that many of these cheating parents simply cannot help themselves, which is certainly not an excuse.  They seem to be so hell bent and determined to win a game, and win at all costs, that they will use any means possible.  Add to that an overriding need for their kid to enjoy the game and have fun and suddenly you have an obsession about doing what it takes to manufacture that W.

How utterly ridiculous.

And yet I see it all the time.


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