To my fellow parents….. Have you ever found yourself wishing that when you left the hospital with your newborn babe in your arms the Doctor or Nurse would have handed you a book saying, ‘Read this and your ride will be smooth – it has all the answers to every question you’ll ever have hidden in these pages.’ Not sure about you but there were times and still are when I find myself reaching for such a book but alas it’s never to be found.
So, you leave the hospital with your babe in arms, as equipped as you can be, some-what prepared to travel along the road of parenting. Soon enough, your tiny baby begins to move and eventually starts motoring around your house, hitting their tiny head on coffee tables, re-arranging your Tupperware drawer; almost daily. In these moments again, you find yourself grasping for the ‘tell all book’ and again it is not to be found.
As the journey continues, this book that seemingly is always out of reach yet you are discovering that its secrets can be heard through conversations, the sharing of stories over countless cups of coffee, playground moments and crisp early mornings spent exhausting your vocal chords on the sidelines of various sporting events. It’s then that you (finally) realise that this book doesn’t exist in paper rather, its words dance around in the hearts and minds of some of the greats that have gone before or who may even be on the same road as you.
The greats I’m referring to are the ones who have walked the dark corridors of the night, soothing a painful cry, the ones who have bandaged the wound of the hurt and the adventurer, the ones who have held the teenage heart in the palm of their hands and through words that bring life have brought the beat back, the ones who have loved without ceasing – even when the road is unclear and hard to navigate. In these spaces and through these stories you will find the words of wisdom that will equip you to raise strong, confident children who, one day, will thank you for all your hard work.
With all of this in mind, today I share with you a secret I have learned through these conversations. This is something I crafted into one of my own Parenting Tips and perhaps one of my most valued and treasured. This Parenting Tip I live by and I love to share. It has brought our family through some of the toughest of situations.
Parenting Tip | Separate the Truth from the Lie
What does this mean and how do you apply it?
Separating the Truth from the Lie is as simple as this (Note: This is a true story from my daughter when she was 12 yrs old. Names have been changed):
Like any other day, it was school pick up time so after an obligatory Starbucks Drive Thru I pick my children up from school. Excited to see them, after a long day, I begin to make my way out of the car park and this is where it all starts.
The tears start to cascade down my lovely 12-year-old daughters face. My immediate reaction is to slam on the brakes and find out everything but she sits beside me, begging me to get out of view so I continue on. The obvious questions are flying around the car, “What happened?” “Why are you crying?” “What’s going on?’ Through deep sobs and gasps for air my daughter, who is deeply hurt replies, “David told me that I was so ugly that when I looked at people they dropped dead. He said that I was so ugly, that even a mother wouldn’t love me. He said I’m the ugliest person he’s ever met.’
With this knowledge my initial ‘Mumma Bear Instinct’ was to turn the car around and to find David and let him know what I thought of him. Trust me, the come backs were at the ready and this Mumma Bear was ready to roar! Thankfully, my blood pressure lowered and I quickly came to my senses knowing that my initial response wasn’t the appropriate route to take. Instead of focussing on David, I needed to tend to the broken heart and crushed spirit who was sitting beside me.
PARENTS, This is where separating the Truth from the Lie is not only powerful but absolutely NECESSARY!
I pulled the car over to the side of the road, snow was falling ever so gently on the windscreen and the air was crisp and still. My two youngest sat quietly in the back, saddened by what they had heard. I unbuckled my seatbelt and turned to face my beautiful daughter who still had tears flowing down her face. I wanted to cry with her and tell her that boys can be mean, that David was a total jerk and that he was probably a big zitty HOT mess (you’ll be happy to know that I didn’t, instead I took a pregnant pause, asked her to turn towards me and I began to Separate the Truth from the Lie).
I told her I was going to ask her a few questions and that I wanted honest answers. I began by asking her, ‘When you look at people, have you noticed them dying in-front of you?’ Her reply, ‘No.’ To which I said, ‘Okay, just to clarify, in your lifetime, you have never seen one person die after you looked at them.” Her back straightened and her gaze met mine as she replied with, ‘No, never.’ I went on to say, “So, the Lie is that people die when you look at them. The Truth is that people are okay and they seem to live after an encounter with you. Great! That would mean that you aren’t actually killing people with your looks. First LIE uncovered.”
I went on and asked her, “Do you know that I love you?” Her quick reply, “Yes, of course.” My reply, “So let’s talk about the 2nd LIE. Your mother loves you and you know that so is it possible you could be so ugly that your mother wouldn’t love you? The TRUTH is you are loved wholeheartedly & unconditionally by someone who knows your true beauty that comes from the inside out.’ Her reply couldn’t be heard but could be seen, tears streaming down her face. Not tears of sadness but tears of knowing and seeing and hearing the TRUTH.
With that I rolled down her window and told her to take the ball of LIES she had been fed and throw them out the window. As I did this, the two in the backseat began to cheer her on saying, ‘Come on Sophia, throw it out the window, throw those lies and stupid talk as far as you can.” My beautiful daughter took that invisible ball of lies and threw them as hard as she could and she chose to stand on the Truth. Needless to say it was a beautiful moment.
Now, with all of this I have to be honest….. Mumma Bear was still VERY mad at this David so as a little payback, we named our Christmas Turkey David because only a Turkey would say something so ridiculous!
Parents, I can’t tell you how many times this Tip has helped us with our children. That beautiful 12-year-old is now a divine 15-year-old who is making the Teen years ever so enjoyable.
I encourage you to adopt this Parenting Tip and to use it. I’ve heard it said that ‘When the Truth is Out You Can Walk Through Anything’. I not only believe that to be true I KNOW it is true. This is just one example of us putting this to practice. I can promise you, there have been many other times it has helped us as a family.
I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You to a few in my world who have definitely left their mark (there are so many to mention I’ve just picked a few)….
- To my Mother, Isabel, who is a Great Mother, Mentor, Grandmother and Friend.
- To my sister, Katherine, who always has a wise word to share.
- To my friend Suzie, who always shares openly and honestly and whose trust has impacted my life forever.
- To my friend Darlene, you always remind me where I am and how so much of this is ‘normal’ and to ALWAYS trust God with our babies.
- To my friend Tanya, who has much younger children, thank you for asking questions and for reminding me that I need to pay-it-forward and share all I have learned along the way.
Keep going friends…. It’s so worth it!