Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Well, To Tell You the Truth...

One of my favorite shows is Lie to Me. My family and I have become "armchair lie detectors" as we practice the skills that each week's episode turns up. Granted the show is fiction. I suspect that the skills are partially fiction too, but it sure is fun to pretend that we know what we're doing!

When fiction turns to reality, the lies aren't so harmless - especially when it comes to the death of a loved one. No matter how difficult the truth is to tell, it's always the best approach. Did I always know this? Of course not!

When my minivan crashed head-on at 65 miles per hour into another car, I wasn't thinking about how I was going to explain this nightmare to my son. I was pinned under the dashboard of our van with my husband crushed behind me. I had one second to respond to my son's outcry, "Mommy, Daddy's not moving!"

To this day, I'm not proud of my response, "Daddy's sleeping." I just blurted it out without even thinking. I wanted to protect him from the painful truth.

Children want to know two things: that we will love them no matter what, and that they can trust us no matter what. I have spent 9 years regretting my response. I suspect that my poor choice will always be one of those things that I'm not proud of. From that horrific day on, I made a promise to my son and myself that I would always be truthful (he already knew that I would love him no matter what).

When grieving children come to Tomorrow's Rainbow, they have the opportunity to share about the death of a loved one. A common thing that happens to children that don't know the truth about how their loved one died, is that they will make up a story that includes bits and pieces of what they've heard. They'll fill in the blanks with whatever they can relate to i.e.-cartoons, video games, television shows, etc. Typically, their version of the story is much worse than the truth. The solution is simple. Be honest in age appropriate terms.

Just because your children don't have lie detector skills like the TV show doesn't mean that they can't sense that they're being lied to. You can do it. They can handle it. If the goldfish dies, don't tell them that you're sending it on an ocean voyage via your toilet bowl! Tell them the truth. The same goes for people that you love. Be honest, be sincere, be truthful.

No comments:

Post a Comment