Monday, September 15, 2014

the naked truth

I am cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.  Empty bowls of crock-pot beef stew are going into the sink, and I am listening to the boys get ready to take their showers.  Then, I hear from upstairs:  "Come on, Ethan!  You can trust me.  I'm naked."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no one would trust someone who says that.  It sounds creepy and weird.  It sounds...suspicious.  Put on some clothes and then we'll talk.  

As I load the dishwasher, laughing to myself, I realize why Isaac might be using this terminology in order to get his brother to listen to him; to trust him.  We had a talk a few days ago and it went something like this...

Isaac:  "Mom, guess what happened at school today?"

Me:  "Hmm...I don't know, how about you tell me?"

Isaac:  "Well, (so and so) knocked down a tower of blocks at recess, and then (so and so) said 'stop that!' and got made the then PUNCHED (so and so) in the FACE!  No....seriously, punched them.  I told them to stop and they wouldn't listen.  Then, I karate kicked (so and so) because they were hurting my friend."

Me:  "I don't think this story sounds so nice."

Isaac:  "That's not all.  Then (so and so) got kicked out of school."

Me:  "WHAT?"

Isaac:  "Yeah..."

Me:  (getting on the phone with one of the so and so's moms, asking her about this information)

Sooner or later, after some embarrassment on my part, the truth came out.  Isaac and his buddy DID get a tower knocked down at recess...but no one was kicked or punched or kicked out of school.  Those were embellishments added strictly for effect by Isaac himself.

I'm not going to lie--I was impressed.  The story-telling skills this kid possesses are powerful...but we had to talk about truth vs. lies, no matter how creative they were.

I sat down with Isaac face-to-face on the living room couch.  I told him how I loved hearing about his day, and about his friends.  I love hearing about the way he saw things and processed them.  What I didn't love was how the truth was mixed up with untruths, so the whole story became a lie.

We talked about the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.  His eyes widened as I dramatically conveyed the tale of the boy who watched the family flock of sheep and thought it would be fun to trick others into believing a wolf was coming to take some of the sheep---only to laugh and say "fooled you!" when the townspeople came running to help.  One day, a wolf really did come and attacked the sheep, and when the boy cried "HELP!"  No one showed up.  No one believed him.  This is why telling the truth is important.  We build trust when we tell the truth.

Isaac understood.  Stories like this help him, for the most part...

And then I ruined the lesson with one phrase:  "Truth is naked.  It doesn't have to be covered up with any frilly stories or fibs."

(giggles inserted here)

So, fast forward a couple of weeks to now.  A naked kid trying to tell his brother to trust him.  I guess I can say the lesson was learned.