24 of 100 Dads – Honesty

David S. is the Dad of two teen girls and fortunately he’s strong enough to handle the job. With a solid career in motivating and supporting others, David has an arsenal of tools of both personally and professionally. In addition to his mad skills, he also comes from a beautiful foundation built on generations of love. What a great combo!

With the influence of both parents and grandparents, David values his role as a Dad as well as the role of extended family members. His dream is that his girls will continue to enjoy each other in love and happiness, valuing their relationship well into the senior years.

It’s clear from David’s tips that he holds honesty and truth in high regard. As much as we may want to cradle our kids forever, to shelter them from real life, I believe it’s our job to prepare them for it, rather than to protect them from it.

A Zen Proverb states, “Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.” It is up to us to teach careful navigation.

David S., “Never lie, honesty is the best policy.Tip 2

Of course, for the first few years “sheltering” may be doable. In fairness to the kids however, we should work diligently to expose them to, and facilitate, real life things in age-appropriate ways.

I attempted to always bring a grounded and honest perspective, as well as explanations wherever possible. We should not just let them listen to the news, explore the internet, or watch TV, without providing an appropriate narrative. High level monitoring is especially important in instances relating to death, illness, and even war, the heaviest stuff.

I believe if we are honest with our children, they will come to us for answers. I wanted Michael to know he could count on me, even if the truth was ugly. It’s important to start these conversations early.

Heartbreak, disappointment, betrayal, sadness, disease, death, violence, and other not-so-fun, even unthinkable, experiences may be racing toward them. It’s our job to plan for the darkness ahead. Prepare them.

It’s up to parents to teach children how to handle liars, cowards and cheaters. We need to help them to recognize risk and risky people. They should know many do not have their best interest at heart.

We need to train them for disappointment, so they can handle devastation. There’s a lot of ground to cover! They should expect things will not always go well. Things do not always go well.

Teaching life’s pain is where the parenting-ballet occurs. It is a carefully, choreographed danced for engaged parents. Conversely, it’s a non-issue for disengaged parents – more like a mosh-pit.

Teaching about death and life simultaneously, “ain’t easy shit.” That’s true, but is possible and in fact necessary, if we are focused on doing what’s best for our children.

Of course, it isn’t always appropriate to be 100% honest. After a few stumbles myself, I too have come to learn that. I guess the distinction for me was hold a general truth about life overall, but not necessarily the truth about adult issues, or my own issues.

I am a huge fan of parenting truthfully; however, sometimes the truth is a bit much for developing brains. One of my most common philosophies is, get as close to the truth as you can. At times, complete honesty may not be the best approach.

Michael’s environment was tailored to him, for him, free of fear and doubt.

A childhood is no place for complete parental honesty. Honesty can be scary, especially, when we as parents have no idea of what we’re doing or where we’re going. Sometimes we have to choose between providing honesty or a sense of security.

For example, I didn’t want Michael to know I was terrified, broke, or betrayed. I didn’t want him to know I failed, had poor judgment, or no idea what to do. Instead I would tell Michael I was tired, or maybe cranky, “still learning.” Those words were close to the truth, but were not scary.

Michael deserved an explanation for my sour moods; however, he didn’t deserve to be fearful and to feel unprotected. He didn’t deserve to believe the world was a scary place because his Mother couldn’t handle it.

I tried to always provide love, security and a lot of room for fun. I’d like to believe Michael moved through life a little easier, and a bit more quickly, not having been forced to carry the extra baggage that can come from parents who over-share.

I agree with David in that honesty is best policy, adding at times it may require adjustments and fine tuning when in discussion with children.

As parents, we have to discern what information to disclose to our kids. Right or wrong, we try to do our best. I think in weighing information, not acting irrationally and with maturity, we can find our answers. It is the consideration that will make the difference.

Thanks David, for all of your consideration and for the solid focus on parenting two special young ladies.

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