25 February 2011

Oliver was sitting on my lap this afternoon and I was running my fingers through his hair when I came across a particularly prickly spot.

Couldn't be.

Maybe it's just new baby hairs or something.

More feeling, more hoping it wasn't true and then, "Oliver, turn around. I need to look at your head."


Sure enough. I mean, it was only a matter of time, right? The kid does love scissors.

"Oliver, did you cut your hair?!"

"No. I didn't. That's the trufe."

"Are you sure, buddy? Because somebody cut it."

"A stranger did. A stranger cut my hair."

"Oliver, I am not mad that you cut your hair. I just need to know - you're not in trouble. But you will be in trouble if don't tell the truth."

"I am telling the trufe! It was a stranger!"

"When?! Where?!"

"The udder day. In the front yard. He walked past and asked if he could cut my hair and I said yes."

"Was it an old man or a young kid?"

"An old man."

"What color were his scissors?"

"Pink." pause. "Pink with blue stripes."

"Were you afraid?"

"Yes, but I loved him."

"Oliver, I want to believe that you're telling the truth. But if you are, then we probably need to call the police. Why don't you go into your room for a little bit and talk to God about this. I want you to remember that God loves the truth."

Oliver exits to his room.

I walk past just a moment later and overhear him praying, "Dear Jesus, thank you for making me. Please don't die again. And also, that's the trufe. Amen."


I might be raising a perfect heathen.


Okay, not really. But in the event that he is indeed telling the "trufe", look out! There is an old man armed with pink and blue striped scissors wandering up and down the streets of suburban Nashville. He WILL politely ask your children if he can cut their hair and they WILL likely say "yes" in the name of love.

And if the "truf" is still out there, Ryan and I will be embarking on our newest parenting adventure: what to do when your child isn't being honest. Any advice?

{the upside? at least it wasn't somebody else's hair he- or the strange old man - cut!}


Molly said...

I'm sitting here cracking up!! Funniest thing I've heard all week!

Jen said...

Oh, that is HILARIOUS! Hopefully the police can nab that stranger and confiscate his scissors. ;-)

Amy B said...

I know it is bad when they tell a fib ...but oh my goodness how cute is he?

Bethany Reine' said...

I will never forget the first time Elijah lied to my face about touching our computer. I just pray that he won't lie to me the way I used to lie to my parents as a kid. Heartbreaking!

On another note-I'm hosting a giveaway for my new etsy shop over at my blog. Hope you have a minute to stop by!

Stephen said...

Haha! Sorry, laughing too hard to feel stern. And I think you're handling it just fine. His conscience will prick him eventually. He's a good kid who is being raised with the trufe.

Cecilia said...

He has quite the imagination! I don't have any advise, we aren't to that stage yet but I'm sure we will be. A new perspective on stranger danger :).

Tracy said...

Gosh, we've been dealing with the same thing with Austin. I really dn't have any new advice. I try to tell him the same thing you told Oliver. Just that God wants us to tell the truth.

Heidi said...

haha - too funny! I'm sure you'll be glad you've written that down!

I don't think kids develop a really concrete understanding of the truth until they're older. So now that he's told you this fib, it wouldn't surprise me if he believes it's the truth. I'd just keep saying what you say - that you want him to tell the truth and that God loves the truth - and you'll eventually know when he's crossed the threshold of understanding.

Kathleen said...

What a funny little guy! I really enjoy your blog and all your sewing and decorating posts.

MomBE said...

That is one of the most precious stories I have read in a long time! I love the phonetic spelling of his speech, it makes it so real to read! Thanks for sharing. Also, LOVE the picture of yall in the kitchen on the counter. Was that a timer photo or did someone take that? I just love the angle and composition.

Andrea said...

Love it! I've faced this same problem in the seven short years of being a parent. Other than praying about it and having them talk to God about it, one of the other things I've tried (and I think is having some impact on them)is telling my children that when they lie, it makes it harder for me to trust and believe them in the future. I try to reinforce this message in different ways as situations arise. I struggled with this at first, because it seemed hard to say that I can't trust my children. But when I did a word search in the Bible, God showed me that the only one I am to trust in is Him. So lately, I try to impress on them that trust is something that is earned and not something they are entitled to receive.

Anyway, I hope that helps.

Raechel said...

MomBE - the shot of me and Oliver on the kitchen counter was a timer shot set up by me. It takes a lot of mis-takes to get a good one, but it's fun when it finally works out! :)

Raechel said...

Andrea - thanks for your thoughts! That does help!

Sarah-Anne said...

wow, i'm at a loss. that's quite the dilemma you have. sorry i can't be more of a help.
althought it IS a funny tale. am i allowed to laugh? :)

Kristen Lea said...

I just love that kid!

Alyssa said...

Hillarious! He's such a darling! My son cut his hair in the same place, but his bangs are slightly longer and it was VERY noticable. And after hiding all of the scissors, he went to school and did it again in the same spot!

As for his "trufe" telling, at this age, just remind him that telling the truth is very important. It's very normal for them to make up elaborate stories at his age, and it will pass. In their mind, they imagine these things (even to get out of trouble) and to them, they seem very real.

Rachel C said...

That is so cute!

I'm having the same problem with Kylee, my four and a half year old. I saw one person said that they may not have a concrete knowledge of truth and lies. I remember reading (I think in The Strong-Willed Child, but I have several books going right now) that kids around that age don't understand the difference between reality and fantasy, and they actually might believe it. Whether it's "trufe" or not, Oliver might actually believe there was an old man.

Kathy said...

Someone told me once to never ask a question of a child that you know the answer to...you are just setting them up to lie to you, although I don't really know from experience, because my daughter has not formed a sentence yet (she is only 15 months old). I'm not really sure if this is good advice or not, but I am putting it out there for the discussion.

May God grant you wisdom to know the best way to handle it, and may you pass it on to us in your blog so we can learn, too!

Raechel said...

I am loving this feedback! I'm really interested in what Rachel C, Heidi and Alyssa said about kids not having a concrete understanding of the truth vs. fantasy yet at this age. I hadn't heard that before but am definitely interested in the concept and reading more about it.

I was sort of with Bethany Reine'. I remember very clearly (since it was only a week ago) the first time Oliver told a straight lie to my face. I knew he wasn't telling the truth and it crushed me.

Knowing that this is a normal stage for a 4-year-old and that my job is to continually point him to Christ give me a better grasp of how to handle this in the future.

I also really liked what Kathy said about never asking a child a question that you know the answer to. There's probably some wisdom in that. As entertaining as it was for me to hear him describe in detail his encounter with the old man, I felt uncomfortable continuing to ask him questions when I knew his answers would be untruths. (But seriously, we talked about it more with him when Ryan got home and the story got even more elaborate!).

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, friends!

Anonymous said...

Kids don't have a full understanding of the concept of "the truth" until they are a little older. It's kind of like math, you start out learning numbers, but just becasue you know number doesn't mean you understand algebra. Kids are easliy influenced by what they thought or imagined, heard in a story, saw on tv or in a movie, experienced at school, etc. Having long talks about "the truth" over an extended period is important as well as reasons why the truth matters. This reminds me of a long "talk" I had with one of my daughters when she was about 5. I was upset at something that had happened, and embarked on a mom rant about responsibility. The rant included lots of "responsiblity this" and "responsibility that." When I was [finally] done, I asked her if she understood what I was saying. She looked confusedly at me and said, "Mom, I don't even know what responsibility means." It was a big parentling lesson for me. Adults often assume kids have a full understanding of very complicated issues at a very young age. We assume our understanding is their understanding, and lots of miscommunications and unmet expectations arise.

{Thirty} Little Piggies said...

Oh man, that's a good one! Wish I had some good advice to give ya but I'm in the thick of it all too. Maybe we'll all come out the other end in 20 years or so and "know all the answers" to this parenting gig. Or...maybe not! Either way, at least you know Oliver has a good, hearty imagination. :) Thanks for the laugh!

kristen good said...

First of all, I just busted out laughing! I am a pediatric RN that works with Oliver's age group on my unit and that's why I love them. Hilarious!! I think I had tears coming down my eyes. :)

I remember learning in nursing school that 3-4 year olds are just coming out of learning that other people don't know what they are thinking and going into imaginative play and fantasy.

What do we encourage a 4 year old to do? Make up stories, play with a cardboard sword and pretend they are an astronaut! We teach them how to "lie" with these things. They aren't really an astronaut and that's not really a sword, but you're saying it's ok for them to pretend this. That's a normal part of being a kid. ALSO, this age HATES to make disappoint their parents and often make up stories rather than tell you something that might make you annoyed. Blend the two together and you get a wild story to cover something up plus the fact that they aren't able to distinguish why fantasy is ok sometime and makes you laugh and why other times it's wrong. They have to learn why it's ok to tell stories sometimes and not ok other times. I really think they know the difference between right and wrong at this age and truth and fantasy. I think they just confuse the two at times and aren't always sure when they can use it.

Here are two articles I thought were helpful:



Hope that helps!

P.S. - I don't have any kids myself, so all this is based on my experience at work and theory that I've read. :)

BARBIE said...

This is the funniest thing I've heard all week. I always tell my kids that when they don't tell the truth, it hurts God's heart, because God loves truth. It's works, most of the time. Praying that God will give you wisdom in showing Oliver the importance of being truthful.

Carla said...

That is funny and oh so familiar! Been through the mystery hair cut conversation a couple times...not that funny though! Teaching kids that age about honesty is a tricky thing. My 4 year old is my best lier yet! So good at it and sneaky too. It's his go-to sin. My other too were no good at it..or were inherently more honest! There is a lot of mix up between fantasy and reality at that age but your little Barbour knows he's hiding the truth. They may not understand the words "lie" completely yet but he knows what he's doing. :) At this age it is a process because they do have such vivid wild imaginations..and maybe he was pretending at the time.
BUT I have found that it is VERY VERY important to not let them get away with a bold faced lie (even if it is funny). It doesn't require harshness but it does require a consequence and a good discussion about trust. It will only snow ball if they discover that mommy can be fooled. :) Good luck with your hair cutting comedian!

Claire said...

Not to be negative or to offend anyone but (in my experience) kids most certainly DO have an understanding of the truth. I would encourage you to take a Biblical stance on this issue and not write it off as "just being a kid". Thou shall not lie. That's pretty clear to me. The Bible also says that Satan is the prince of lies. When my 4 year old lies we talk to him about what the Bible says about that and he knows that it is a serious offense. I think we have to be careful about listening to too much psychology from the world.

5littlechickies said...

"The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful," Proverbs 12:22

"Therefore each of you should put off falsehood andspeak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body..." Ephesians 4:25

"Let love and truthfulness never leave you- bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 3:3

"Surely you desire truth in the inmost parts, you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." Psalm 51;6

"Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way fo truth; I have set me heart on your laws."

Your sweet babe knows the truth. And once he confesses the truth, it will set him free and the rest of your family as well. Memorizing Scripture about truth with Oliver will plant those seeds of truth in his heart. As innocently as it seems, and funny too, a child who "hides" the truth is walking in sinfulness...and it is so very hard to teach a child later in life not to hide. These precious early years are the foundational years of training obedience, respect, honor, and truthfulness. Being a "truth teller" is hard and it takes courage. Your Prince wants to be courageous... I can tell!
Don't be faint at heart... Momma! Trust me, battling for the truth is much easier when they are young than when they are 10, or 13, or 16!

At my house we pray specifically that our babies will be "lovers of the truth!" His Truth!


Raechel said...

I loved the scriptures and your words! Thank you so much!!

We have been talking with Oliver a lot in these days since the haircut incident about being a "man of honor" and a "man of truth". :) I really think he gets it more than some might think. Maybe he doesn't have the understand that an adult may have, but that's not a free pass to conceal the truth.

We definitely know that these are indeed his formative years. Even if he doesn't understand some words or concepts, we want him to hear us using language with him such as repentance, transgression and certainly truth.

We know that God is not a God of confusion - that he not only loves the truth, but his Way is the Truth. These may seem like minor things, but I would much rather be taking these small opportunities to teach big concepts than wait until later when the "opportunities" are not so trivial.

I am so grateful for you girls and all of your search for the truth even as we work together to discuss how to train our children to love and serve the lord. As alway, I am so grateful for the respectful (and thus productive!) dialogue you have all been so kind and careful to foster!

Grateful for you all!


Melissa VInes said...

Oh goodness I will be on the lookout for that man...thanks for the warning! At least he is asked politely before cutting Oliver's hair. ;)

Julie B. said...

HA! Sorry, but this is hilarious! (Well, mostly only because it didn't happen to me... yet!:)

But I have certainly "been there" on the not telling the 'trufe'. And, at Oliver's age, I guess I think it's not that big a deal unless it's a completely 'bad' situation that the lying occurs in. Maybe that's just me, though. But at 3/4 years old? I think they are merely testing the waters to see how much mom & dad will really go for. Hey, if the 'trufe' works, right?! ;)

My son is 8 so we really got creative once when he lied about something big --stealing a piece of candy from the gift shop in East TN Children's Hospital in Knoxville while he was awaiting an EEG. I had the security guard come talk to him as if he'd seen him take the candy. He was scared straight. Now, he still lies on his sister --i.e. "She did it! Not me, mom!!" but otherwise, no more candy has been stolen:) Good luck!

Alissa Kroeze said...

this is seriously so funny... thank you for a good laugh tonight :)

Sarah Robbins said...

Okay, I read the post way back when and didn't comment but now I was reading through the comments and decided to comment!

I agree with the minority that kids really do know when they are lying, while they may not completely understand fantasy and reality. I recently read the book Nurture Shock by Po Bronson which is terrific. It has a chapter on kids and lying. Based on their research, the MOST important time for kids to have serious consequences for lying is ages 2-4ish. It's not a Christian book, but their research shows that if kids don't learn the penalties of lying at a young age, they just get better and better at it so much so that parents have difficulty catching them in a lie to reteach the importance of honesty. It was fascinating to me. Long comment, but I wanted to share that interesting info I read.