My mother used to say “it’s hard to grow up”. This was typically after one of her children had bonked their head or fallen down or had experienced a consequence for some undesirable behavior. I’ve found myself saying it to our boys, too, and usually under similar circumstances: learning how to ride a bicycle and suffering a skinned knee; having to share a favorite toy with a sibling or cousin; tripping in the Harris Teeter parking lot and dropping the free sugar cookie that you worked so hard to earn, then bursting into tears when your mother helps you up but takes the broken cookie all while saying that this one can’t be brushed off 🙁
It’s hard to grow up. It’s hard to learn some lessons.
Lately, one of our guys has been learning the lesson of honesty versus dishonesty. I can remember telling a whopper of a lie when I was in the second grade, and I still remember the punishment for it. I also remember that I was my own worst disciplinarian – I suffered for days with the knowledge that I was lying to my mom and to my teacher about something. When the truth came out, it was more a relief than anything else. The truth does set you free.
That memory has been in the forefront of my mind lately and I have a lot of sympathy for my little boy. But I also have a lot of gratitude for my parents and their teaching me the importance of truth-telling. It’s much, much better to face the consequences that may accompany being honest than to be dishonest and suffer the guilt of knowing that you lied.
Plus, when your parents do find out that you lied, there’s that punishment on top of already having punished yourself. Double whammy.
So, we’re trying to pass on some of what Chris and I learned from our parents about the importance of honesty to our two little boys. And I’m gaining perspective on what that feels like as a parent. I find myself filled with love and sympathy and admiration for my son as I watch him learn. It’s hard to grow up.