Rogan stood in the kitchen just minutes before it was time to leave for school, he looked up at the counter where his Lego droid sat in toy prison (that’s a robot type thing from Star Wars, in case I lost you there).
Out of the blue he said, “I’m going to tell William today that I forgot my Droid at home.” I was so occupied with getting out the door, coat on, shoes on the correct feet, dogs out , etc that it almost didn’t sink in what he was really saying. The night before he got it taken away as a consequence, and evidently that day at school he had told his little friend that he would bring it the following day and show him. But now that he didn’t have it for 3 days he devised a plan and made up a reason as to why he wouldn’t have it. I told him that wasn’t the real reason and he could just tell his friend he got in trouble and got it taken away for a few days. The look on his face said it all and he started to panic saying there’s no way he could tell him. I paused much longer now and got down to his level. “Buddy, it’s no big deal. Just tell him the truth. Why don’t you want to tell him that you got in trouble?” Of course his response was a shoulder shrug with a “I don’t know”. I waited and asked again.
“Why do you feel you can’t be honest with him?”
And then reluctantly he responded with a quiet whisper,
“Because then he won’t be my friend.”
I quickly assured him that I’m sure that wouldn’t scare his friend away. I pondered this the rest of the day because I too face this almost daily. Fearing that they won’t accept me if I’m real.
As grownups (and obviously as kids) it is painful and terrifying to be transparent. Putting our hearts out there and telling the truth even if it is over the simplest of things. We make excuses and build little white lies as to why we can’t come to the party or why we did this or didn’t do that. The truth is scary and even more so when we don’t get a response we had hoped for. Often times I get wrapped up in trying to please others and not letting them down. If I could just stop and ask myself why it matters so much. What’s the worst that’s gonna happen? They won’t like me? Come on! That’s about as silly as the conversation with my 6 year old this morning.
So what if we were all a little more honest? Not like airing all our dirty laundry for the whole world to see or sharing every detail. But being real enough to say, “yea today was stressful getting out of the house for the weekend and my husband and I were fighting before our romantic anniversary weekend.” (Yes, that totally just happened)
Being brave enough to say that you too have picked your kid up late from school or lost your cool and yelled or…. (Fill in the blank.) We all have those not so pretty moments, those times when we should probably have our most beloved toy put in prison.
Why are we so afraid to admit weakness and the fact that we don’t have it all together? Some days I share the not so pretty truth easily and quickly. The words no sooner leave my lips and I am spooked because being honest and vulnerable is quite scary.
So why do I keep doing it, and why was it so important for Rogan to tell his friend the truth (other than the obvious reason to not lie)?
Because I believe that when we are vulnerable and brave we pave a path encouraging others to do the same. In doing so it drops the expectations that we must have it all together. Whether they follow or not, it is worth it, it may be what sets them free.
The story ended well. Rogan said he needed my help to tell his friend why he didn’t bring the Lego to school, so we did it together. I will admit I was laughing a little on the inside because this little kindergartner was looking at Rogan and I like we were going to tell him his dog died. To Rogan it was that serious. All was right with the world when his friend responded with a simple, “Oh, okay.”
I realize it isn’t always this easy to tell the truth and also that not everyone is a safe person but I thought this innocent example from a 6 year old served well to remind me how ridiculous I am at times and that being real is important.
Let’s be brave and real, showing others that it’s okay to not be perfect.
Thanks for reading friends.