I’ve never smoked a cigarette. I’ve never done a drug. I’ve never stolen anything or been arrested. I never got pregnant (until I’d been married 7 years and we had our daughter) and not once, did I sneak out of the house.
I was ruled by the fear of disappointing my parents, teachers and other elders from whom I sought approval. Once, at 15 (WITH a licensed friend in the car, I might add), I took my mother’s totally bitchin’ Crown Victoria to the Circle K and back. It was two blocks away. I felt so reckless and cool, settled into those velour seats with the classic country station blaring out the windows that rolled down only 1/2 way. My mom was out of town and never knew I’d behaved so carelessly. Or so I thought. Years later, I told her “You know, the worst thing I ever did as a kid was to take your car to Circle K and back”. She said “I know. I wondered why you only went 1/2 mile, though”. Dork busted. What was the point in me leaving the seat EXACTLY at the same position? Why did I bother making sure to not touch the mirrors or radio station? Did I not park in precisely the same angle or leave her window cracked “just so”? Maybe I wasn’t mean’t for this sort of rebellion.
I do hope I’ve instilled a healthy dose of this fear into my own children and that they will have enough confidence to decline the devious offerings all teenagers receive. I think that I walked the line of little-goody-two-shoes and popularity enough that no one ever approached me with drugs or gangs… probably in fear that I’d tell. (I SO would have!)
My daughter, I think, shares my desire to please and can be pretty hard on herself. But my son, on the other hand, has no problem flinging out truth-challenged explanations for a variety of his mischievous misdoings. Sometimes, they’re not so much lies as they are attention-seeking confessions. He flat out tells on himself!
When my son was about 4 and obsessed with puppies, he would carry around my sister-in-law’s itty bitty Yorkie “Sadie”. All day. Every day. The poor thing was scared to death and shook like an epileptic in his preschooler’s grasp. He dipped her in the pool once and, seeing the drenched animal, my sister-in-law gently reprimanded him “Honey- please don’t put Sadie in the pool. She doesn’t like that. It scares her”. The next day, he walked into the living room, once again, clutching a wet and shaking puppy. “It looks like someone put Sadie in the pool again”, my sister-in-law said. “Nope. Looks like someone put Sadie in the toilet!” he replied proudly!
There are 128,567,211 clever reasons why he cannot possibly be expected to do his chores. His socks are too tickly to put his shoes on, so he is unable to take out the trash can. His ear hurts, so there is no way he can practice piano. He is “allergic” to his shirts and they hurt him- so he has to wear a basketball jersey to school instead. His hand is often tired, so obviously this makes it quite impossible for him to make his bed in the morning. Obviously.
But then- I realize that I am his big, fat lying role model! Sure, I may have been a rule following adolescent, but now that I have kids- my playbook has been drastically altered.
“McDonald’s is closed today”.
“We can’t get a pet. You’re allergic”.
“The fair was cancelled”.
“That animal lying by the side of the road is just sleeping”.
Liar liar pants on fire!