I think some of us like a little too much drama?
There’s nothing like taking a small issue and blowing it up. In every profession, arena and home this seems to be an acceptable way of avoiding the real conversation in today’s world. It’s the ol’ “Quick! Distract them!”
When my mom used to ask “So Corey… tell me what happened?” I’m sure she could tell from the depth of breath intake how long the explanation would likely be, and also how accurate. The longer the story, the more I was the villain and not the hero.
Life with four daughters has taught me the intricacies of untangling the truth during a disagreement. I do what we all try to do… find out who started it in the first place and go from there. Who actually did what to whom? I don’t really care if you didn’t mean to hurt them, you hurt them and need to fix it. “Tell dad ALL of it and let me sort it out. Don’t decide what I need to hear and what I don’t please.”
Shading the truth for your audience can be tricky. When my seven year old asks me the dreaded “Daddy, how are babies made?”, and after I have four simultaneous heart attacks and send her to mom for an explanation, what she hears is not the entire story. Why? Because she couldn’t handle the truth (and I couldn’t handle her having to handle the whole truth about mom and I when she’s seven).
In the same way we train our girls not to go anywhere with strangers and what to do if someone tries to get them to something they aren’t comfortable with, more accurately what I’M comfortable with. When asked “Why Dad?”, we tell them “There are people who want to hurt little girls.” That is very different than explaining the graphic details of what can actually happen. Why? Because we want them to be safe and keep their innocence at the same time.
Sounds noble right? It is.
Until you start deciding for peers and people in the food chain above you what they need to hear and what they don’t. This is something called Lying and is wrong. We all know liars have to have good memories and eventually it catches up with us. It could be argued that all the energy expended memorizing the drama could probably be spent making our company or family better? But that’s not our main concern when we tell a lie is it?
I could go off into our need to feel important, which we don’t like to admit is a motivator in the drama surrounding our lives, or our insecurity which tends to point the finger at everyone but ourselves. Sometimes I think we create drama because we’re bored. The truth about most drama is that it hurts people in the end, and the truth about the truth is that it is normally a very short sentence. “I’m wrong. I’m sorry.”
I’m a pastor and some friends of mine do what smart parents do sometimes, they asked for help with their little girl. They had caught her making up stories and, well, lying. I love when parents get over their insecurity and pride and ask for help, mostly because it saves really awkward conversations in the child’s teenage years when everybody knows what wasn’t working…
My friend and I sat down with his daughter at my desk and I took the drama out of the equation. I took a pen out of a drawer and said “This is a teeter totter, you’re on one side and your mom is on another. When you tell a lie you get off the teeter totter and tell your mom you don’t want to have a relationship with her anymore. Then you go over here and make up stories to feel better about why you got off the teeter totter, and why you’re more important than Mom.”
It took a few minutes, but when she left we knew she had it.
Somewhat subdued she said “Pastor Corey is right Mom, I want to get back on the teeter totter with you.”
Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t very dramatic, but it does keep us together…