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Today I Lied

I did something I’m not proud of today: I lied to my son…

 

Last night I told Adlai I’d try out a game on the Nintendo Wii he got for Christmas after he went to bed. He wanted to play it the next day, and I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate, so when I was tucking him in, I promised him I’d have a go while he slept.
Except by the time I got downstairs and poured myself a drink and got back to the living room, I’d forgotten. I plopped down on the couch and turned on an episode of 24, and that was it for me until I went to bed at 11pm.

So you can imagine how bad I felt this morning when the first thing my son said to me was, “How was the game?” 

I should have just told him the truth right then and there, but I panicked. So I said, “Yeah good,” and promised him we’d play it tonight, and that was that.

But it wasn’t. Tonight, when I got home from work, Adlai was waiting to play the game with me (why do kids remember every thing you ever promise them you’ll do?), but we couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t with the other Wii games, and it wasn’t with the DVDs in the TV stand.

“You know where it is, don’t you Dad?” he asked me. Why wouldn’t I know? I played it last night, right? RIGHT? I brushed my son off a couple of times, but the longer we looked for the game, and the more it became obvious it wasn’t going to show up…the less I could hold my fragile House of Lies together. I had to do it. I had to tell my son that I hadn’t told the truth.

He took it well at first. I explained that I’d lied because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, and that I really did want to play the game with him, and he seemed to understand that. It all looked like it was going well until bedtime, when I told him I’d be right back to his room to read a second story, and he said, “Why should I believe you? You’re a liar.”

He wasn’t wrong. But ouch. Kids really know how to hit you where it hurts sometimes. I want to teach my boys the importance of honesty, and of respecting others by telling the truth. I didn’t do a great job with that one this week. But I also want to teach them the importance of owning up to your mistakes and asking forgiveness. I’m finding lots of opportunities to practise this one, and I’m getting better all the time. 

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