While Lizzo IS my hero, we are not talking about her today.
Mays has been lying quite a bit lately. Up until today, I had not been able to get him to tell the truth. He has been doing a lot of blaming it on everyone else, when clearly it was him.
Today I caught him doing something minor, but wanted to tackle the greater issue of lying.
He was in our room, and I walked in to get something else, and noticed him toss something under our bed:
“What was that, Mays”
I reach under and find a tube of glow stick bracelets, top off, and a part of the label ripped off. “Who did this?” I asked.
“It was Tallet. I saw him do it?”
“Alright then, let me go ask him”
I humour Mays and ask, of course he denies it. We all know it was Mays.
I get Mays to come sit down on the ground in front of me, and go into my spiel of why lying is so harmful. I remind him I already know the truth, and encourage him to tell me.
He offers up many other culprits. Tallet again. Dad. The dog. Finally resorting to saying that he doesn’t know.
It’s just before lunch time, and Mays is hungry. I tell him we will sit on the floor together until I hear him say the truth, again reminding him I already know what that is.
He is upset, and wants to know if I want him to die from skipping a meal. I reassure him that is not true and he won’t die from skipping one meal.
Finally he blurts out “It was me”
He leaps into my arms and begins sobbing uncontrollably.
At that moment I realized that for him, telling the truth was a physically painful thing. He could barely get himself to do it.
Isn’t that how we all are? Sometimes telling the truth is the hardest thing. Accepting blame doesn’t feel great. But it’s also freeing.
I held him while he cried, and repeated to him over and over how proud I was of him for telling the truth, how I know it was hard, and how being truthful is always the right way to go.
Several hours later, he was caught pulling my Post-It sticky tabs out of the dispenser. His knee jerk reaction was to blame it on Tallet. When I asked a second time he instantly admitted it was him and gave me a big hug and exclaimed “That was easy! I told the truth”. You could hear the freedom in his voice. No longer carrying the burden of needing to pass off the blame.
This is also a reminder for me, to be gentler in my responses to their mishaps and misbehaviour. It is my job to lead them into becoming kind and honest people. Overreacting to minor offences is not getting us there any quicker!