I think it’s a toddler thing. I think it’s something all kids go through. It’s a life lesson. (One some adults still haven’t learned.) But as with most things, we Johnston girls like to be dramatic. We like to put our own spin on things – and that spin usually leaves one (or both) of us flat on our backs.
Tell the truth.
It seems simple. It sounds easy. Mom makes candy. Mom lays candy out and goes to clean the kitchen. Mom returns to find one piece of candy with a bite taken out of it. Mom asks who ate the candy. Everyone denies emphatically. Mom points out that only one person could have eaten the candy – only one person is missing two front teeth. More emphatic denial. Mom explains that no one will be punished; she only wants the truth. Denial. Mom threatens punishment because now it’s getting ridiculous. Denial. Mom walks away. After a moment, child enters the kitchen to say “Mom, I’m sorry I took a bite of candy and ate two other pieces.” Truth. The WHOLE truth.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You wonder how it is that BG has lost her two front teeth already. Well, sports fans. She hasn’t. But when her mom was without front chompers, she ate some candy and lied about it. Unlike some people, I can’t ask “where does she get that from?” There isn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind. She’s her mother’s daughter.
One morning during our recent trip to my parents’ house, BG was awake before everyone else (shocker!) so she and Papa went to feed the horses. As they returned, BG hit the window button in the truck. When Papa jokingly asked how that happened…you guessed it. Emphatic denial. Papa pointed out only one person was close enough to hit the button. Denial. Papa explained no one would be punished; he only wanted the truth. Denial. (It’s amazing my parents survived me. Poor people probably feel like someone hit “repeat!”) After a long 10 minutes of silence in the truck, there was finally a mumble that sounded something like “Papa, I hit the button.”
The best part of BG, though, is that the truth is in her. You just have to know how to get it out of her. One thing she’s learned better than most people is that an apology includes facts. “I’m sorry you got hurt” is not accepting responsibility. “I’m sorry that I ____________”is an apology, and that’s something Brynna does well. She may drive you to drink, but she’ll own up to every action when she gets around to apologizing.
Not long after the window button incident, Brynna had a couple of “run-ins” with her cousins. Literally. While they don’t see each other as often as we’d like, when BG is with Zoe and AJ, they speak their own language to the point that people think they are siblings. And like siblings, arguments are a part of daily life. During one argument, AJ ran in crying. (Oh, who am I kidding? The girls sent him running for cover all day, every day!) This time, though, he was holding his face. And not far behind was BG looking a little too curious about what he’d say. We asked what happened, and she pled the Fifth. Had no idea and she did “nuffing.” But when we told her to apologize, this is what we heard: “I’m sorry, AJ. I’m sorry I poked you in the eye.” Well no wonder the kid was crying! About an hour later during a similar scene, BG was told again to apologize (this time to Zoe). Her apology: “I’m sorry I threw you down.”
So next time you need to apologize, think of BG. Even if it hurts (and I pray you didn’t poke out eyes or throw anyone down), tell the whole truth.
It’s not just a toddler thing. All of us have to learn why it’s important to tell the truth. We have to learn that although our initial thoughts are for self-preservation, not telling the truth will eat at you from the inside. The Truth – the WHOLE Truth – will set you free. Maybe you aren’t a toddler but you have something that’s eating at you from the inside. Find a safe place and tell the truth.
(If you need one, message me and we’ll find someone where you live to hold your hand.)