I remember the time I “cried wolf”. Or at least that’s what my parents called it.
I was young, probably somewhere between 7 and 9 years old, and I was sleeping over at my friends house. I remember playing and having a good time, but feeling that I didn’t want to be there. Being that young I didn’t quite know how to best handle the situation, so I guess instead of asking my friends mother to call mine to get me because I wanted to go home, I pretended that I wasn’t feeling well. I’m not sure why I wasn’t honest when it is perfectly normal to not want to sleep out and go home. And likely my parents wouldn’t have cared should I have called and just said that I wanted to be home instead. But I faked being ill in order to get my parents to come get me.
I’m not sure how they knew (who am I kidding, moms know everything!) or what I said for them to figure it out, but I remember getting home and sitting down with my parents. They believed that I was “crying wolf” and told me the story. (I should really ask my parents if this happened the way I remember it, but for whatever reason, this is the way my mind tells me it happened).
Wikipedia references The Boy Who Cried Wolf as:
The Boy Who Cried Wolf is one of Aesop’s Fables, numbered 210 in the Perry Index. From it is derived the English idiom “to cry wolf”, defined as “to give a false alarm” in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and glossed by the Oxford English Dictionary as meaning to make false claims, with the result that subsequent true claims are disbelieved
Now I had only done that the one time (fake being sick), so I wasn’t exactly like the boy in the fable who made continuous false claims and then never believed again. But it was the lesson that they were trying to instill in me.
And here we are today. I’m the mom now. And I have my 4.5 year old that has been known to make certain claims every now and then. Why just a couple of days ago I get a call from his March Break Camp that he wasn’t feeling well. He had asked them to call me because his tummy hurt. Of course I dropped everything to go get him. Any time T complains of a stomach ache, I fear the worst. He’s never had a good stomach and for the first few years of his life threw up a lot. So anytime his stomach has to do with anything, I take it very seriously.
But I also know when he’s telling the truth about his aches and pains. He gets quiet, he rests, which if you know T is NOT his personality. He is always on the go, from one thing to another and doesn’t sit still.
So when I picked him up and he had that look on his face, I knew that more likely than not, he was okay. I put him in the car and asked what was wrong. He said his throat hurt. I said, “oh, Anna told me your tummy hurts”. And he looked at me with those big eyes and said “ya, my throat AND my tummy”.
We get home, his brother is home for the afternoon too, and as Z starts to play so does T. He’s totally fine. A total faker.
I’ll admit it was fine with me…he didn’t feel like being at camp that afternoon, so be it. But I explained to him that he could have just told me that he didn’t want to go. And that had he just told me he wanted to come home today I wouldn’t have been upset.
But for whatever reason, kids don’t quite get that honesty is the best policy.
I bet there is some fear in their minds that if we as parents know the whole truth, that we might be mad about it. Or even disagree with it. But that’s okay. And we have to tell our kids that their feelings are rational, but they need to do the right thing and be honest.
T is a little too young for me to explain the tale of the boy who cried wolf, but I’ll make sure to explain it in further detail as he gets older and understands more.
So for now we just need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again…though I have a feeling, it just might one day.
Have your kids ever “cried wolf”? If so, what did you do about it? Please share your experiences!