Tuesday, June 30, 2015
How One Boy's Honesty Created Some Serious Self-Awareness
I found this particular parenting moment very eye opening for me as a parent, but also for me as a person striving to become more self-aware.
When asked face-to-faced, my son came clean and admitted to me something he had done. Not only was he honest with me, but he took it to heart and was honest to himself. He had a clear and profound realization about how his undesirable behavior effects others.
In one moment, instead of choosing the drama of denial, and lies, followed up with the drama of getting caught and suffering the consequences. Instead, we skipped all the drama and moved right to honesty, which resulted in deep self-awareness.
As an adult, my son listened to me when I called him out two times for being too rough when we were getting ready for bed. Once resulted in me getting a pillow to the face and my glasses crunched into my head.
In an attempt to get him contained, I asked him to please wait in my bed with a book until his sister and I were ready to come read there together.
Not two minutes later I hear a very concerning crash.
What was that, I call up.
No seriously, what was that?
Just a glass!
A glass! What happened?
I don't know???
You don't know???
It just fell!
He comes out of the bedroom to grab some rags to sop it up.
Me, quietly trying to figure this out, almost to myself: why would a glass just fall? I don't understand. Hmmm.
Son comes back out.
Did the glass break?
He comes over by me.
Tell me what happened. I don't understand.
I don't know.
Please tell me the truth. It will be okay.
Pause. Deep breath. I was fooling around.
I want to get mad. It's late and I've been singling parenting for most of the day. I'm on autopilot. But before I do, I remember that he just told the truth and came clean about the situation. I become so overjoyed by this fact. We've been talking a lot this year with my 7-year-old the importance of being honest and always trying to tell the truth. And he did it! And it probably was really hard for him given that I had already pointed out that he was acting too crazy and it was hurting people. He knows he should have settled down, but didn't.
My heart floods with happiness and I look at him with kindness and love, and say, thanks so much for telling me the truth. I am really proud of you. I know that was hard, but I am just so happy you told the truth.
So that was the end of it, or so I thought. The girl and I carried on getting her ready for bed. But when I go into his bedroom, there is my son laying on his bed, faced down, with a pillow over his head.
I don't take this seriously, I think he is playing around. I go over and sit by his bed and give him a pat, and say, hey. The sound that comes out of him is pathetic and weak and sobby. Oh dear he is upset. Not a usual thing for him.
Don't worry, it's just a glass. We have plenty. It's not like it was my glasses that were broken.
He sobs louder. And I just don't understand where this is coming from. I try to play the broken glass down some more. It doesn't work though. So I just snuggle him and pat his back. I am there with him in this moment. It breaks my heart. I tell him I am sorry he is sad and feels bad. We lay there feeling all the feelings.
I didn't really get it at first. It is just a glass. Why is he crying so much over a glass? He has seen us break plenty on the kitchen floor. But I think it goes much deeper than that.
He was honest with me, and honest with himself. With fear aside, and love on his side, it enabled him to really see himself. And what he saw he didn't like. It broke him. I know this feeling all too well. But for me, it took days and days in a silent mediation retreat to really listen with love and without fear, and to confront how my past behaviors where hurting and hindering me. I looked in that mirror and confronted some heavy shit. It broke me open. And I am thankful for that little bit of self realization. I've tried to do better.
But why in the world did it take me days and days in silent meditation? Why can't I be more like a child and take to heart what others point out about my undesirable behaviors? Why can't I be more honest with myself? Why is it so scary to got to that deep place?
It makes me think about all the ways we fool ourselves. All the times we react with the big drama or the denial. Like in close-relationships or marriage. It's easy to call out your partner on their shit. It certainly is no fun to hear, and its easy to launch back a returning grenade.
It's so easy not to listen to the adults in our life. Or even our children. Sometimes it's not always true. But sometimes it is. Why not just surrender and see it.We'd all be better people for it.
I know as my partnership matures, we have learned the lesson of what is productive and what isn't in terms pointing out faults. If you want the other to really take it to heart, it has to be done with love and respect. And it helps if there is a "need" element. Like, it would be really helpful to me if....
The bottom line is that it is hard. And it hurts. And change is tough. But I am going to take the bravery that my son showed me and try to be a little more honest with my own self from now on. I hope you will too.
The Domestic Yogi