Making the Right Decisions
07 Oct 2013
Last Monday, I met the girls at the bus stop after school. We chatted as we walked home, like we do every day. I asked them what they did today that made their day great, and what their favourite part of the day was. They each took turns telling me how their day was.
When we got home, the girls unpacked their lunch bags, and went upstairs to play in their rooms. Neither of them had homework.
Wendy arrived home about half an hour later, and we talked for a bit. We also ask each other how our day was. We have been doing that for years. It is great to debrief, and get our work off our plates, so we can enjoy the rest of the day with each other.
About an hour later, Wendy started to prepare dinner. She went to throw something in the garbage when she noticed some turkey and sliced cheese in the garbage. This is what she had given Rachel for lunch that day.
Wendy called Rachel down to ask her why she didn’t finish her lunch, and chose to throw it in the garbage. Rachel said, “I ate my lunch. That was from another time. I just took it out of the fridge after school because I needed the container, and noticed it was bad, so I threw it out.”
It had not been in the fridge the night before.
There are paths in life…
I heard what was going on, so I walked into the kitchen. Rachel reiterated her story to me. I explained to her that life is all about choices. With everything in life, there is a choice… a fork in the road. One way will take you down the right path, and the other way will take you down the wrong path.
Rachel decided to take the wrong path that day, and made up a story that was obvious for Wendy and I to see through. I gave her the opportunity to revise her answer, and tell us what really happened, but she continues to support her story.
That is when I said “Rachel, you are not currently in trouble, but if you are caught lying to your mother and I, you will be, and the longer it takes for us to get the correct story out of you, the worse your punishment will be.”
Rachel began to tear up. “It was from today. I didn’t feel like eating it, but I didn’t want you to be mad at me.”
As much as I was upset she threw away food, it was the lying that got me. This is not the first time Rachel has lied to us, and not the first time she has been punished for it.
She ended up getting grounded. This meant no TV or technology (iPad, computer, etc). All spare time (not at school, having meals, or doing chores) was spent in her room.
The problem is… it didn’t stop there. She did not apologize for lying.
Both of our girls have always used their manners. It is how Wendy and I have brought them up.
Give it some time…
After dinner, Wendy went to the gym, so I decided to get some work done. Rachel came down to my office and was standing there. I noticed she was there, and asked her “is there something you want to say Rachel?” She said “no”, and still stood there. I responded, “when you think of something to say, I am here.”
She sat down at my desk and looked at me for a few minutes, and then started crying. “I wanted to apologize, but I couldn’t think of the right words. I will never lie to you and Mommy again.”
Now I was almost in tears, but I chuckled inside and thought, “never lie to us again? Come on… even I lied to my parents.”
A little advice from her not-so-perfect-but-now-grown-up-and-still-learning Father
We had a good talk. I told her that I had made mistakes like this in my life. I reinforced my earlier comment on “making the right decisions in life”, and how with everything, there is a decision to be made. Even as minuscule as “should I wear a long sleeve shirt or a short sleeve shirt”. You stop, and think about it. “Is it going to be warm or cold?” We go through this every morning. The girls and I switch on the Weather Network every morning, and they base what they are going to wear on the weather.
After our talk, she felt a bit more confident about talking to Wendy. Which was good timing, because Wendy walked through the door about 5 minutes later. I looked at Rachel and said, “You can do it kiddo. It’s always best to admit when you are wrong and own up to it.
Rachel went to her room, waited until Wendy got changed, and called her. Wendy went in, and they had a long chat. Rachel apologized. Wendy also reiterated the importance of making the right decisions. As I walked up the stairs, I heard Wendy say “It is okay to make mistakes, but you have to own up to them.”
Although I was not happy about being lied to earlier, I was happy that my 8 year-old daughter realized that she made a mistake, and was making an effort to right her wrong.
I walked into Rachel’s room. She looked at me and I said “You need to be honest. Make the right decisions. And if you happen to make mistake, own up to it, and be honest. You should never be afraid to come to us. Mommy and Daddy love you, and that will never change.”
There have been times in my life where I have made the wrong decisions. Have ever made a decision in life you knew was the wrong one, and knew there would be consequences? Feel free to leave a comment.
13 Dec 2023 - BDK's Posts