Being Real: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

On the drive home from school I had a disjointed conversation with my oldest as part of the painful adjustment for both of us to middle school.  It was a dialogue about an assignment that he got an honor mark for not turning in.  Ian claimed he really did turn it in— or was it that he didn’t know he was supposed to or perhaps he was just confused. Something didn’t add up so I suggested we meet with the teacher for clarification.  Ian begged not to.

As we were getting out of the van from school, as usual I asked my kids to take our eager-for-exercise black puppy lab for the 12-minute walk around the block.   I grabbed the expanded leash and hooked it on Daisy as the kids were slowly getting out of the van.  While my oldest was arguing with me why he did not want to take his little brother on the walk, Daisy darted out of the garage while I was still holding the leash.  My left cheek slammed against the open van door, which hurt like h!#@, and I let out a scream.  Startled and afraid Ian asked if I were okay.

No, I’m not okay!  I’m not okay!”

I looked at his eyes welling up with tears and said, “Ian, I need you to obey!”

Forty-five minutes later our babysitter would arrive, so I could head to a local parish to give a Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships workshop.  God was kind to me.  I did not have a black and blue cheek for my presentation— only a cut on the bridge of my nose.

While I would not advocate this melt-down-and-give-them-the-brutal-truth parenting technique, there’s actually something cleansing about just being real with those we love.  Whether with our kids, spouses, parents, or friends, it’s good to let people know where we are in an authentic way.

It lets people know that no matter how competent we seem, we are not God or the emotional Hercules earthly version of God.  Authentic communication encourages our loved ones to take ownership and responsibility to what is theirs.


The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships:  Identify something you need to say to a loved one, and say it in the most loving way you can.