I’ve always heard the phrase “out of the mouths of babes,” but I was reminded of the truth it holds during a recent Wednesday evening Bible study at my church.
My pastor spoke not so much of the honesty of one of his sons, but the desire to be included that resulted in a rather embarrassing situation for his wife. One day in Sunday School the children were requesting prayer for someone in need in their lives. It seemed that the theme of the prayer requests for that day was someone, usually a parent had a habit the child asked for prayer to change. When it came time for the pastor’s son to make a request, in an effort not to be left out, he asked for prayer that his mother would stop smoking and drinking excessively. The truth was the pastor’s wife had never experienced either in her life. If you know people like I know people, that revelation raised more than a few eyebrows.
While reveling in what I was certain was abundance of embarrassment and humiliation brought on by the innocence of their child, my thoughts instantly raced back to similar experiences from my children.
When my children were quite young and on those rare occasions when they behaved as their mother and I had hoped, they would sometimes be rewarded by being permitted to visit the home of some of their friends to play for an afternoon. Now, as you know, no child wants a wonderful day like that to come to an end. However, rather than ask for their playtime to be extended, my son and daughter ran and hid under the bed of their friends and cried, “Don’t make me go home with those people!” Naturally, the first instinct of the other parents’ thought was that we were abusing our children. While I didn’t say it, my thoughts were, “The abuse may begin today when I get them home!” But it didn’t.
Another of my not-so-shining moments was that I had become quite fond of soap operas. I had picked up that habit years prior when I worked an evening job and had my afternoons free to eat bon-bons and delight myself in such shameful activities (just kidding. I would still watch them if my kids hadn’t ratted me out).
During my child-rearing years, I worked a daytime job and couldn’t watch my beloved soaps. Then Santa Claus came to town and brought daddy a VCR! The kids envisioned recording countless hours of cartoons and Barney the Purple Dinosaur, my wife envisioned movies from Block Buster, and I had spirals in my eyes as I saw a pathway to bring back my soaps! Halleluiah! That was short lived.
One day, a very well meaning and good-natured friend with whom we attended church dropped by to visit. Benny (I call him Benny, because that was his name), shared with me that he had a rather curious conversation with my children at church last Sunday. While I was afraid to ask the details, I covered up my fear and inquired as to the subject matter of that conversation.
Benny shared that my sweet little daughter and son shared the abuse that I was putting them through because when I returned home from work each day, they couldn’t watch their cartoons because Daddy is watching his soaps.
Despite my failed attempts to make lemons out of lemonade, Benny made me hand over my “Man Card” and subjected me to humiliation amongst the “Manly Man” group (I just made that up) at my church.
Later I discovered that they had an underground society to stay up on the latest happenings on the soaps. When we moved away, I was vice president of that society. (I made that up, too. See how easy it is to lie? But I’m being honest about it).
While on a rampage about how humiliated I had been made by my children, family members reminded me that my father was trying to sell a pickup truck to someone. After telling the prospective buyer how wonderful the truck ran, I thought I would help him out by refreshing his memory regarding the problems he had keeping it running. To say the least, Dad was a little vexed with me. We did, however, enjoy that truck for many more miles after that day.
Kids do say the darndest things. And just be careful. They might be saying them about you.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at http://www.HerbDayVoices.com and http://www.HerbDayRadio.com.