So I found myself caught between a rock and a hard place (sorry for the cliché) the other night.
My daughter wanted to know if I was a rebel when I was younger.
Maybe it was the deer in the headlights expression that gave it away, but she knew immediately that I was not always the straight-laced, button-down, Christian woman that I am today.
Don’t get me wrong, I was always the one who everyone’s parents trusted, including my own. And for good reason. For the most part, I stayed out of trouble, rarely broke the rules (I was usually too scared) or at least was smart enough not to get caught. But my daughter wanted the dirt, the gory details.
At first I told her that if she could guess something that I had done, that I would fess up. She couldn’t really come up with anything, to my relief, but she was relentless.
So what’s a parent to do? Make up something? No, that’s not my style. I’m too honest for that. I mean, really…honesty has always been my enemy.
This was a dilemma. If I told her a rebellious story she may use it against me further down the line. You know, throw my words back at me…”But YOU did it!” That would be bad. Or she could go the other way…”Just because YOU never did it doesn’t mean that I can’t do it!”
There really was no way to get out of the messy situation. It was a teachable moment…for both of us. So I thought of something forgivable, and told her a brief story from my rebellious youth. It was entertaining and not something she could really duplicate, so I was safe there. No one in the story got hurt. I told her how I learned a lesson and why it wasn’t a good idea to begin with.
Discernment…that’s what I learned. I learned that it isn’t so bad to tell my kids the gory details of my past mistakes, as long as I keep them in my past, and as long as my kids can learn a lesson from them. I think I’ll be ready for the next time one of them asks about my history, and I’ll keep the gore to a minimum. I’d like to keep my straight-laced, button-down reputation intact.
I’m just glad I got to live my teenage years BEFORE the internet.
Do you tell your kids about your gory details?