By Ashley Allgood
I taught a class of kindergarten children at our church last year. One day, a little boy asked about a button he had seen on the boys’ restroom wall. I told him I wasn’t sure what it was. Very soon, another little boy came to ask if he could go to the bathroom again. He claimed he’d “forgotten” to wash his hands. I smiled and said, “You want to touch that button don’t you?”
He looked shocked and asked how I knew! I just smiled and said I was a curious kid too and often told lies so I could do something I wasn’t supposed to do. Another cute little boy rushed up asking, “Like what?” His eyes were wide and he was eager to hear about a teacher being a naughty little girl.
I told the curious students that I did lie as a child. I told them my lies made adults not trust me, and even though I didn’t know that I was hurting God with my lies, I really was. I told them that they didn’t need to lie just because they were curious about a button in a bathroom. We could figure out together what the button was by asking others. I told them I didn’t want them to grow into an adult who lies because lies can hurt. So while this little boy was full of joy at hearing about my lying ways as a child, he also learned a small lesson
During my almost nineteen years of being a parent, I’ve learned that kids like to know adults are not perfect. We lied, made messes, broke things, and got into trouble.
I often tell my children now that the reason I’m strict with them is because I got away with a lot of things as a kid and teen. I knew I could talk back to my parents and not be punished. I didn’t respect them one bit. I lied and stole money without blinking an eye. I didn’t want my kids to be like that, so I knew I would have to enforce punishments. I love them and want the best for them. Now that my kids are teens, they seem to understand this and show my husband and me way more respect than I ever showed my parents as a child.
It’s so easy to tell kids not to do this or not to do that. Yet, when you do as Jesus did, and tell a memorable story, it is much easier for children to remember the lesson behind it. You are also being honest with your children that you, too, have made mistakes. And maybe they will be able to learn from yours.
Ashley Allgood is a Christian wife married 22 years to Michael. They have three children and homeschool in Georgia. Ashley has always loved writing and storytelling. Read her blog http://mythoughtsoffaith.blogspot.com.