It was time to head back home. The walk with the kids at the nature reserve had been a little respite. Beautiful trees and birds, a change from lockdown telly and squabbles as we traipsed through the forest in search of a stone statue of a Green Knight which was rumoured to dwell in the woods.
On the way home Archie and Maisie were arguing again.
“No Archie! You didn’t see the Green Knight running past the bridge! Daaaaad! Archie is lying again!”
Archie had form with lying. But, I calmly explained to Maisie that he had changed, that he didn’t lie these days, not when he actually “promised to god”
Now, we are not a religious family in the least, but the day before, over dinner, I had explained to Archie that, regardless of god, he should only use “promise to god” for something that was true. That way he had a fail-proof way for me to believe him when he really needed me to. Of course, there was one big condition: it only worked as long as we could trust him. He would need to make sure that he always told the truth, no matter how small, when he said “promise to god”.

I said to Maisie that all we needed to do was ask Archie if he “promised to god” that he had seen a Green Knight running through the woods .
At this, Archie huffed, “No … I don’t ‘promise to god’…. I hate ‘promise to god’.”