Truth be Told
It’s funny how things come back around; even if the
details had been forgotten from the first time it went by. I spoke with my second oldest son this
week. He relayed an episode he just had with his oldest daughter who just recently turned thirteen years old.
It seems that he was downstairs working on a project for a while. He went upstairs to discover that the kitchen
was smoky and cold. It was cold because
all of the windows were opened in spite of the calendar being turned to
January. A cakepan on the stove top held
some kind of unrecognized disaster.
There was more evidence in the kitchen sink – a water soaked and half burned sheet of paper
towel. And out on the deck he noticed a
scorched oven mitt.
He found his daughter behind the closed door to her
bedroom. “What happened in the
kitchen?” Seemed like a perfectly
understandable question. “Oh, it got
warm in there and I didn’t know how to adjust the thermostat, so I just opened
the windows.” Seemed like a rehearsed
and unsatisfying answer.
My son cleaned up the kitchen and waited for his
daughter to volunteer a more plausible explanation. After two hours of waiting, he went back and
knocked again on the bedroom door. It
was time for the prosecution to lay out the evidence, so my son explained
everything he observed in the kitchen.
The defense was silent; no doubt she was still trying to let go of the
hope she had for the last two hours that her first explanation had
Then my son said that he told her the ‘blue van
cigarette lighter’ episode. That’s what
I had forgotten, but when he said blue van and cigarette lighter it came back
to me. It was years ago. We were assembling our four young children to
head out somewhere. This same son,
probably about nine or ten at the time, had headed out the door first. As my wife and I herded the rest of the
children out the door we heard the piercing cry. Said son came flying out of the van holding
his hand and tears were running down his face.
“What happened?” It seemed like a
perfectly understandable question. “I
don’t know”, came the all-too-brief and unhelpful answer. But one look at the finger that he held out
was all I needed. I rushed him to the
sink and rinsed it with cold water while I got some ice. After a bit, although I was sure that it hurt,
it wasn’t blistering. The tears stopped. A bandage was applied.
I asked again about what happened. No answer.
I then explained the evidence to my son.
His finger was burned. The burn mark
was perfectly round. He was in the
van. The only thing in the van that would burn him and leave a mark like that was the cigarette
lighter in the van. He must have been messing around with the lighter and burned himself. Rats. Even though a story had eluded him, even if
he did come up with something now, it was no use – dad knew.
My son’s daughter listened to the story. She absorbed the lesson. She finally told all – wanted to treat the
family to a cake, but the pan slipped when she was placing it in the oven and the
batter spilled over in the oven. She
thought of cleaning up the spilled batter with some paper towel – not thinking
that it would catch fire on the heating element. She grabbed at the burning paper towel, which
singed the oven mitt. That all led to
smoke and a few seconds of panic. She
opened the windows in the hope that would clear the smoke quickly. She was thinking about how to get rid of the rest
of the evidence, but then she heard her dad coming up the stairs, so she quickly sought
refuge in her bedroom and hoped somehow that he wouldn’t notice. But he did.
She learned the hard way, through experience, that
parents almost always know what happened before they ask their children the
question. They just want to give the
child the opportunity to trust the parent’s love for them enough to tell the
truth. Parents and God both work that
"See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are." 1John 3:1
[The names were changed (actually omitted) to protect
the innocent, and the not so innocent.]
His Peace <><