Have you ever had a kid ask you a question about something that makes you realize they are paying more attention than you think?
Brian and I hadn’t yet discussed the whole Petraeus situation – hey, sometimes it’s hard for parents to make time to chat about current events! So I asked him, “What are your thoughts on all this mess?” I was thinking about the whole web of questionable and inappropriate behavior, but Brian began his answer with, “Well first of all, he cheated on his wife – so obviously, I don’t like that.” We then started getting in to some of the details of emails and socialites, just discussing it matter of factly, when Eric comes in the room and says,
“What were you saying about the man who did something Daddy doesn’t like?”
I didn’t even know he was within earshot, much less paying attention or assigning any value to anything we were saying.
Several thoughts raced through my head about what to tell this curious five-year-old. How do you explain this – and would he understand any of it? Somehow, between the two of us, we answered,
“He lied to his wife. When you lie about one thing, people think you must be lying about everything else.”
How’s that for a teachable moment? We went on to explain a little bit about how he used to be in charge of a lot of the military and was the head of all the spies – very intriguing, I’m sure you can imagine – so it was even more important that he have integrity. But really, it all came down to, “He lied, therefore he can’t be trusted.”
Eric seemed to understand the severity of this.
“He LIED? To his WIFE? Whoa.”
That seems to be enough for now. We’ll tackle more complexities as they come up!
This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man.
– William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist (1564-1616)