I just couldn’t tell the truth – could I?


My son is becoming more curious by the second. He is loving school & making such progress compared to being in the UK everything else pales into insignificance. However it takes some real effort on his part to make the right choices everyday & use all the coping strategies that we have put in place.

One of the outputs of all this focus on school & behaviour at school has prompted lots of questions about my behaviour at school! Which, to be perfectly truthful was awful. If I had been any one of the numerous teachers I terrified I would still remember me now & it would not be fondly. Looking back now I totally understand why my behaviour was as it was; there are no excuses, but some reasonable explanations. But, I have always said I would never lie to my son. With everything that has happened over the last 2 years, I have been asked some very potentially awkward questions & I think I have successfully answered them, without lying or shattering any illusions he has about others. Believe me, it has been incredibly tempting to answer with my initial gut reaction, which would be wholly unacceptable as a mother & it has taken tremendous energy  to be constructive yet truthful.

I have always been really proud of not lying to my son. It has taken huge application & determination on my part. The questions about my behaviour at school have led to some really positive conversations about the great benefits of good behaviour & being proud of always trying hard and being honest. However these questions have made be think back. I really was a little (& in my teenage years big) sh*t. Upto the age of 12 I was at a Roman Catholic convent in my home town. It was a private school & very popular. Reasonable grades were achieved alongside a full curriculum of art / performing / sports activities – principle being that every child would feel like they were good at something. Unfortunately I was determined to be bad (as in behaviour) at everything. Corporal punishment was prevalent – I was regularly hit with a ruler across the hands (back of the legs when I was really bad) to the tune of “You are a wicked wicked girl Rebecca”. Fortunately my parents only knew when my sisters would announce in pure mortification that Rebecca was pulled out of assembly again to be punished! Assembly behaviour only happened 1 or 2 times a week – so the daily misbehaviour often went without knowledge! Age 12 my parents & nuns decided it was best I should leave – fair enough. I then went to a very strict & expensive highly academic school 1& half hours from where we lived. My behaviour went downhill from there. I am ever thankful for my interest in sport from saving me from taking a very different path. Stories of my time at the Abbey should be saved for another day – but to give you a flavour 2 teachers left because of my behaviour …..!

To the point of this blog. We were in the car on the way to school a couple of days ago. We often have great conversations about all sorts of things – I watch him in the mirror fascinated by the careful consideration that goes across his face before asking me a question he has put a lot of time into thinking of.  So here goes:-

“Mummy, did you ever say to the teacher to the f word off?” Well of course I did, it was my staple put down. However, & here’s my first lie – “No I would never have done that, it is not a nice thing to say to anybody & it makes people very sad. I liked my teachers & would not want to make them sad!”

“Mummy, did you ever do the finger like this (cut to him demonstrating in the mirror) to your teachers?” Again of course I did, at every opportunity, I’d tell them to swivel, turn it up, do one – you name it I increased the insult with the verbal accompaniment. And so to my second lie “I didn’t know how to do the finger when I was growing up. It would have made my teachers very sad which is not what I would have wanted to do!”

And so I have told my first proper lies to my son. I know there is a good rationale behind it, but having worked so hard at not lying about the really hard stuff – being blindsided by my own awful behaviour at school has grates a bit!


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