The day I returned from my OBX vacation, a lie rocked my world. This lie came from someone in my own home, someone who up until that time, had proved to be of excellent character. That is why it made this incident, all the worse. It caught me so off guard.
No-- it didn't help that it came on the heels of a week away, because returning to the real world after a break is always tough. But this just made it seem like the real world stepped up to slap me, as if to say what made you think you deserved some time away.
I think I was in shock for the 24 hours after discovering that my child had spent every single penny he had earned over the summer, dipped into his savings for overdrafts, and cashed his overage from his college loan to buy paint ball supplies on Craig's list and E-bay. Holy lotta paintball supplies. Almost enough to pay for the driveway we have been desperately saving to replace.
And then I got all emotional. I was both sad and mad and well, heartbroken. I was completely devastated that my unwavering trust in this person, was now compromised. How could this have happened? Didn't he know better? Of course, he knew better.
That he had so completely and irresponsibly spent all the money we had counted on him to have to take care of things like books for school, oil changes, car repair, gas...was inconceivable to me. Yet, there it was on the bank statement in front of me, the cold harsh reality. It made me sick to my stomach.
Where had I, had we, gone wrong? What had we failed to teach him about being responsible? About always having a fall back, a just in case. What should we have done differently to prevent this?
And right on the heels of all those questions came the even bigger question. What makes me think I can take on the "parenting" of two other kids, when I am doing such a lousy job with my own? In rolls the huge truck filled with self doubt and dumps me a load. I wonder, do you ever stop feeling the sting from your children's mistakes? Do you ever stop taking it personally?
It took me a while to figure out, this isn't about me. Or how I parent. This mistake was his and his alone. He knew better. He knows better. Making mistakes is a part of life. It will be his life lesson.
And as life lessons go, we are lucky that no one was hurt, no irreversible damage was done, except maybe to the lining of my stomach. Since I was once given a second chance, I believe in them. I know that we can move forward and that trust (and his bank account) can be built back.
Yesterday's Daily OM has a lesson we all should remember: "Your word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions."
Speak the truth, even if it isn't always the easiest path. Even if it means owning up to our actions, admitting we made a mistake and asking for help. In the end, the truth is all we really have. Protect your word. Live honestly.
Here is the full post from Daily OM that inspired me to share this story that I am fairly certain my boy did not want me to share. Sometimes, the truth hurts. I love you honey.
Staying True to Your Word
Your honest word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions.
Promises are easily made. Keeping them often proves more difficult because when we are pressured to strive always for perfection, we find it simpler to agree to undertake impossible tasks than to say no. Likewise, there is an infinite array of circumstances that conspire to goad us into telling falsehoods, even when we hold a great reverence for truth. When you endeavor to consistently keep your word, however, you protect your reputation and promote yourself as someone who can be trusted to be unfailingly truthful. Though your honesty may not always endear you to others—for there will always be those who fear the truth—you can nonetheless be certain that your integrity is never tarnished by the patina of deceit. Since frankness and sincerity form the basis of all life-enriching relationships, your word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions.
When we promise more than we can deliver, hide from the consequences of our actions through falsehoods, or deny our true selves to others, we hurt those who were counting on us by proving that their faith was wrongly given. We are also hurt by the lies we tell and the promises we break. Integrity is the foundation of civilization, allowing people to live, work, and play side by side without fear or apprehension. As you cultivate honesty within yourself, you will find that your honor and reliability put people at ease. Others will feel comfortable seeking out your friendship and collaborating with you on projects of great importance, certain that their positive expectations will be met. If you do catch yourself in a lie, ask yourself what you wanted to hide and why you felt you couldn’t be truthful. And if life’s surprises prevent you from keeping your word, simply admit your error apologetically and make amends quickly.
Since the path of truth frequently represents the more difficult journey, embarking upon it builds character. You can harness the power of your word when you do your best to live a life of honesty and understand what motivates dishonesty. In keeping your agreements and embodying sincerity, you prove that you are worthy of trust and perceive values as something to be incorporated into your daily existence