We all take Vitamin C tablets each day. I'm not asking you judge on the merits of whether we should be or not, it's just something we do and it does seem to help both us and the kids keep bugs at bay and fight them off better if we come down with anything.
The kids used to eat a Healtheries kids brand of tablet until they stopped making that particular version (don't you hate it when that happens). So we just started giving them one of ours (a lower dosage - 1 a day instead of the 2 we take) and thought nothing of it. A few months back I was doing something in the spare room when I discovered 2-3 partially sucked tablets under the bed. At the time I didn't think much of it and although we asked the kids if they knew what happened, no-one owned up so we left it at that.
Then a couple of weeks ago when Mark was mowing the lawns, he discovered another tablet just outside the spare room window. Which was odd. I recalled that I'd seen the spare room window open that morning and that someone must have thrown it out then. The culprit owned up (it was actually pretty easy to determine who as one will happily eat said tablets and the other always stalls for time). When we asked if there were any others he might want to tell us about, he said no. We said to him that he needed to tell us if he really had such a great aversion to them, and that we would think about buying some more palatable ones but not to go throwing these ones away in the meantime.
After a few words were exchanged, where I believe both said things they didn't mean in the heat of the moment, Mark decided he'd better leave it and tackle it later as they had to leave for work and school. When we got home later that day, after some discussion with Mark about how best to approach things, I took said child aside and we had a calm chat.
I told him we were not mad at him, but that we WERE disappointed, both that he had chosen to continue to hide the tablets after we had asked him not to, but also that when given the chance to come clean he hadn't told us about any of the others. We talked about how important it is to always tell the truth, no matter what. That we would love him and support him no matter the situation. Even if we might find it hard not to get mad initially, we would be so happy that he had told us the truth and that we would work through whatever the problem was together.
We talked about the fact that in the future a scenario could come about where we needed to believe his word about a version of events versus another child or adult, and how we would really want to believe him, but we needed to be able to trust his word and know that he was a lover of truth. We talked about the story of the boy who cried wolf and how lying had such a profound impact on the ending to that story. We also talked about how much God dislikes lying because it not only hurts our own hearts and makes us feel bad inside but it can really hurt other people too.
In giving him another opportunity to come clean I asked if there were any more we needed to get rid of, and together we retrieved another 5 tablets hiding behind his clothes drawers. We talked about how even though we would move forward from here, there still had to be a consequence for his actions, and that Dad and I had worked together to determine something appropriate. I told him that we had considered no TV for a week but how that would also impact on his brother which wasn't fair, or that he wouldn't be able to play with the kids next door as they both do most days, but then explained how that would affect the other kids too. In the end, we decided that saying 'no' to a special food treat he had been looking forward to was a good one-off consequence where he would miss out on something the rest of us were having. He was upset to begin with, but also understood that as parents it was our responsibility to enforce a consequence.
Daddy also brought home some new kid-friendly tablets for the boys that night, and we moved on.
I'm surprised though how much this affected me. I didn't like the feelings in brought up in me.....that if my child was lying so successfully about taking some vitamin tablets, what else could he possibly be lying to us about? It really unnerved me because I think, as a parent, we inherently want to believe in the goodness and not badness of our children.
But then it also reminded me that we are all sinners. Every.single.one.of.us. At not much older than his age, I used to skip showers (I know how gross that sounds!) so I could read. I always had my head in a book growing up. So much so that I would turn the shower on, and sneak my book in the bathroom so I could read for ten minute while the shower was running. What a waste of my mum and dad's precious hot water! I cringe thinking about it now. I also used to read books long after I was meant to be in bed asleep, reading by the red light of my LCD alarm clock. How I didn't ruin my eyes doing this night after night I'll never know. So I'm no saint. Heck, we are all just sinners.
Saved by His grace. And nothing can separate us from His love.