On Sunday night, Jack went to bed, and as I was closing his bedroom door while I was leaving his room, he asked for something. I responded with “as long as X, Y or Z were done.” (doesn’t matter what X, Y, and Z are, or what he asked for, by the way. And honestly, I can’t remember).
He replied “yes, they’re done”.
I said, “Okay, you can do that, as long as you aren’t lying to me.”
Dead silence for 10 seconds… then a whimper of a “okay”.
To which I responded “Jack, are you lying to me?” in a slightly harsh Daddyvoice™.
He croaked out a “Yes. Daddy. I lied.”
It was pretty dark in his room, and I couldn’t read his expression, so I said “Jack, are you okay? Your voice sounds a little sad.”
Jack said “I’m a little sad that I lied to you.”
At which point, I turned around and walked back into his room and sat on the bed next to him, and said “Jack, do you need a hug?” He leaned into me, and threw his arms around me and buried his head in my chest.
I just hugged him for a minute, and once he was ready to pull away, I held his arms with both hands, and put his face right in front of mine (remember it was dark in his room, this whole time) and said “Jack, I love you, no matter what, and I’m really proud of you that you just ‘fessed up to your lie so quickly.”
I explained that we’re human, and we’re going to make mistakes. The important part to dwell on isn’t the mistakes, but how we deal with and handle those mistakes. Fessing up to our mistakes quickly, is the mark of a real man… it’s a very adult thing to do, and that I was very very proud of him for doing that.
I told him that he wasn’t going to get what he wanted, because of the lie, but because he ‘fessed up so quickly, I’d reward him with a big hug and some extra time playing outside the next day.
I hugged him again, and this time he hugged me even longer than the first. We just sat there, sharing a moment that I hope will become a pivotal moment for him in his development from a little boy, into a strong honest man with integrity. That’s my hope. I also don’t want him to grow up yet… he’s such a sweet boy…
Right before I left, Jack then asked me what “fessing up” meant. I explained to him that “fessing” is slang for the word “confession” and he said “Oh… riiight! I get it. It’s like telling the truth, even when you don’t want to.”
I gave him a kiss on the cheek while I tucked him back into bed and replied “Exactly! Keep your word, and tell the truth all the time, and you’ll never have to feel sad that you lied. And if you do, just clean it up with the person you told the lie to quickly, and you’ll feel much better, right away.”
He then said “you’re right, Daddy. I already feel better. Love you.”
And I left.
Love that boy. And loving watching him become a young man.