Yesterday, Caleb (my son) came home from playing outside with a bleeding wound on the back of his head. After some questioning, he told me that a boy had thrown a rock at him. He was very guarded about telling me the story. Caleb was outside with three friends: Billy, Nick & John, when this other boy came up and threw a rock at Caleb. Nobody did or said anything, Caleb just tried to avoid the other boy. Not much of a story, eh?
I point out how odd it is that this other boy just came up and threw a rock and nobody did anything about it. Caleb then said that all four of the other boys were throwing rocks. Uh-oh, I smell a lie. He broke down then and admitted that he was throwing rocks, too. Caleb had been throwing rocks at a tree and his three friends were throwing rocks up in the air in order to hit them with a tennis racket.
Now Caleb admitted that Billy was also using Caleb’s brand-new aluminum bat to hit rocks. This bat had been given to Caleb on the condition that he take VERY good care of it. Gina was very disappointed.
Caleb was throwing rocks, and he got his just punishment for that bit of disobedience — he got hit in the head with a rock. I don’t think any more punishment is necessary for that.
But he also lied to us, and now I am reminded that he is not a perfect child, even though I often think he might be. I need to be able to trust him, and he needs to be able to trust me. I am here to protect and care for him, but I can’t do that if he doesn’t tell me the truth about what is going on. Caleb must learn to tell the truth always, even when it is uncomfortable to tell the truth. He went from being in trouble for throwing rocks to being in much more trouble for lying. The trouble is, I don’t know how to punish him. To tell him he can’t go outside to play with his friends will be a punishment for Gina — he’ll drive her nuts. To take away his allowance will only further aggravate what we are trying to teach him about saving (he is saving for a rifle, but he keeps wanting to take all of his money out of savings in order to buy some cheap toy).
Lastly, Caleb has got to start standing up for himself. I don’t mean that I want him getting into fights. But when his friends do something he knows his wrong, he must have the moral courage to stand up and say, “stop doing that.” Specifically, he has to tell other boys not to misuse his toys, such as his baseball bat. He can’t be afraid of losing his friends, which Gina thinks might be the primary motivator — that he is so desperate to keep friends that he doesn’t want to rock the boat. How do I raise my boy to have the moral courage of a warrior — I want him to be a fierce and strong warrior.