Saturday, November 13, 2010

Truth Be Told

Recently our eight-year-old grandson Aiden hit a milestone; he learned about telling the truth.

We, meaning Papa John, Nana (Me), and Aiden were on a road trip this past weekend. The three of us always have a good time; Aiden just happens to like his grandma and grandpa enough to spend a lot of time with us.

We had stopped to eat lunch and when back on the road we noticed a produce stand, which I always have to stop at like some people have to go to yard sales. Aiden and I got out of the truck while Papa stayed in. While I shopped Aiden, being the little boy he is, tromped out to a nearby plowed field. When I finished the two of us piled back in the truck and we headed out of town.

About five miles out I said, “Where’s my cell phone?” It wasn’t in the little slot where I keep in on the dash when we are driving. I looked on the floor, on the seat, in the bags, and in my purse to no avail. I didn’t recall taking it with me when I went to buy the veggies, but I could have.

After searching in vain, John pulled over on the highway and I did a more thorough search.  I got a sinking feeling that I’d lost my $200.00 phone and preparing myself for the hassle ahead, not to mention the embarrassment of doing something so careless. Aiden kept saying, “Calm down, Nana.” He also said, “You know you are forgetful because you're getting old.”

A day earlier he had made me laugh with a similar comment. When I did something, I can’t remember what. he’d patted my arm and said, “Its age, Nana, its age.” I laughed at that then but this time I feared he was getting a little to close to the truth. Apologizing to my husband as he made a u-turn so we could go back to the stand to look, I felt like I was too old to be making such a mistake.

When we got there the people said they had not found my phone. It was then that Aiden tugged on my sleeve and said, “Nana, when we got out of the truck before I took your phone and put it in my pocket.” He said he did it because he thought “someone might call,” which of course was his cover story; he took it just because. He showed that the phone was no longer in his coat pocket and it was then I remembered he had been running through a plowed field. I motioned for John to come and told him the story; if anyone can find a needle in a haystack or a black cell phone in a field of dirt, it’s my husband. Luckily, with the help of the others we located it quickly – and I mean luck because I really believed we were out of it.

Back in the truck a silent Aiden received a tongue-lashing from a Papa who very rarely disciplines him. As we continued on our way Aiden felt the weight of our disappointment and kept quiet for many a mile. Sometime later I spoke up. I told him I was very upset not only because he had taken my phone without permission, but hurt because he had made me feel as though I was responsible. He had also made it seem as though I was old and forgetful (a mortal sin in itself!). However, I continued, he had been brave enough to tell us the truth; he’d made a mistake and admitted it and for that I was very proud of him. I told him that we all make mistakes and the mark of a person with character is when they can admit it and face the consequences.

Eventually, our boy came around and he once again participated in our road trip adventure.

What his actions reminded me of is when I was around his age I did something that caused me to tell a big ‘ole lie that I eventually had to admit to. It was awful and a memory that is seared in my mind.

My childhood caregiver was my grandmother.  While she worked during the week I came home to an empty house every day after school. One day I was at the top of our stairs playing with a basketball when I lost my grip on it. It bounced down the stairs and right through the window of the front door, smashing the glass. I was horrified and didn’t know how to explain it when my grandmother came home. So, I made up a story that someone had tried to break into the house.  My grandmother called the police. That little lie kept getting bigger and bigger until I could no longer contain it. 

I was terrified because I didn’t know how to get myself out of it. I eventually told one of my brothers the truth and he acted as my buffer, telling the police and our grandmother that it was me who had broken the glass.

I don’t recall getting punished or even a lecture, but I do know I learned a big lesson that day: Telling the truth is scary but a lie takes on a life of its own. 

I hope Aiden retains this memory so when his own child has to decide on telling the truth or not, he or she will have enough faith and trust in their father to make the right choice and Aiden will remember his own childhood moment of truth.

1 comment:

laura said...

That's a sweet, sweet boy you have there (but you already knew that :)
Great story