Sometimes the greatest lessons for kids can be plucked, unfortunately, from the day’s headlines. Today’s lesson? The cover-up is often much worse than the crime.
John Edwards cheated on his wife with Rielle Hunter. Baby Frances Quinn was born. That a healthy baby girl was born to a woman who presumably wanted a child was a good thing. That John Edwards cheated on his wife and family was a bad thing.
But that John Edwards subsequently lied to his family and the country about the affair and the baby was a bad, bad thing. In fact, it was so bad that he’s now facing a possible indictment for the extent of his involvement in a cover-up. This would not have happened if he had just owned up to his affair and out-of-wedlock child in the first place.
Is it worse to admit a lie or have it uncovered so spectacularly and publicly that there are legal consequences? I’m guessing your kids can answer that one for themselves.
The United States Department of Justice has greenlit a prosecution against the former North Carolina senator and vice presidential and presidential candidate for alleged campaign law violations. Federal investigators have looked into whether he took money from two wealthy donors in order to support and hide Hunter when she was pregnant with his child.
Edwards has denied knowledge of the payments, even though evidence allegedly suggests otherwise. According to TMZ, Edwards is aware of the pending indictment, and is deciding whether to accept a bargain or face a lengthy and costly trial.
Initially Edwards allowed a campaign staffer, Andrew Young, to claim responsibility for his child with Hunter. Ultimately Edwards owned up to the affair and Frances Quinn, but has denied using campaign funds to cover them up.
Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer. The couple never divorced.
Landing in jail for lies that Edward could have just owned up to immediately is a lesson for us all — but particularly for kids who often think lying is better than suffering the consequences of just the lie. If John Edwards does anything for anyone, hopefully it’ll be to learn that the consequences can be far worse if you wait until you’re busted. Hopefully someone can learn from his mistakes.
Lying to Kids: Preserving the Childhood Innocence?