Crossing the Line

By Lynda Ewell

You never have to guess where you stand with kids. Their honesty can be brutal. They will look you straight in the eye and tell you just how fat those jeans make you look, or tell you that when you sing it feels like their ears are crying. They aren’t being mean, just honest. They’re not trying to hurt your feelings; they just call it like they see it. You learn very quickly not to seek their opinion. Trust me, that is one can of worms you don’t want to open.

Having said that, and understanding the consequences, we – adults- still step across that line from time to time. Maybe we’re lulled into a false sense of security by their shiny hair, soft cheeks and bubbly laughter. They use their dimpled smiles and chubby hands that reach out to us to their advantage. We are easy targets.

Several years ago, when my son was 3 years old, I stepped over that line. I knew better, yet still, I crossed it. I was sitting in the living room reading a book. My son came running into the room, jumped up onto my lap and laid his head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around him and gave him a gentle squeeze. With his sweet head on my shoulder he said, “Mom, you’re the 2nd smartest person I know.” I paused for a moment then asked him, “Who’s the first?” He snuggled closer and said, “Daddy.” Ok, I thought. I could buy that. His dad is pretty smart; I loved the idea of him thinking his dad was a smart man. Gave him something to strive for in life. Good.

Then it happened. I opened my mouth again. This is that line I was talking about. Yup. I jumped right over it. Rubbing his back I confidently asked him, “What about your sister?” He stopped moving for a minute; obviously he was giving this a lot of thought. Then he sat up, looked me right in the eye and said, “Mom. You’re the 3rd smartest person I know.” With that said he jumped down and ran off to play. Well, I guess I asked for it.

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