Sunday, June 13, 2010

To Tell The Truth, Or Not

As I have well established, The Big One is quite a character. Though bright, she is often lost in her own world, and will say things that are very honest, but not always very appropriate. I generally attribute this to her blonde type personality. I work with her, reminding her when to speak out loud and when to use the voice inside her head only, or when she needs to wait until she is in private with an appropriate adult like mom or dad to ask these things, and we will continue to have to work on this. I Perhaps it is my strong southern heritage, but I am really hung up on making sure that we establish a and grow the filter that runs from her brain to her mouth at a young age. It isn't that I think you should always filter what you say. In fact, there are many instances where you shouldn't filter what you say, but be brutally honest. There in lies the hardest lesson to teach: when to speak up, and when to let things be.

The other day, after a long trip home, I realized that I may make this a more difficult lesson for my children to learn, because when I choose not to utilize my own filter, it often comes at odd moments.

Traveling with my children, or any child, is usually a working lesson in patience for parents. Our last trip was no exception. Even if your children are well behaved, there are inevitably other things that bring on extra stress, and having children there questioning why in regards to every issue increases the stress exponentially.

Our first stress full, filterless moment came as we entered the security line at out initial airport. I thought that at 5:00am on a Tuesday, there would be little airport traffic, and we should be able to get through the lines quickly. I was wrong.There were very long lines for everything, especially security.

After we checked in, we ran over to the security line. It was insane, and out flight was soon to be boarding. After a few moments, a security person came sort of close to use, and started speaking. She was close enough that I could hear her, but with the thick accent she had, she was not close enough for me to understand her. The next time she came around, and with the little bit we had moved closer, I realized she was calling out flight times. If you flight was at that time or before, they were puling you from the general line, and sending you through a short cut. That was us. We were running late. I grabbed The Girls and ran up to her. She checked our boarding passes and sent us to a short line. We bypass the entire maze of people, and were able to step right into the short lines for the x-ray machines. Just as another member of the security team told me which short line to get into, the real moment began.
As soon as The Girls and I stepped over, from behind me I heard,
"Oh, sure, let them go through, while I miss my business flight."

I turned to look at the man behind me. I wouldn't have really suspected him a business traveler, what with the scruffy jeans, vintage tee, and skate shoes, though I am sure he paid good money for his clothes to look that rough when he bought them. I turned back around, filter on, intent on ignoring him.
Until he started again.

"Sure. AS long as they get to go, everything is fine. If I miss my flight, I lose my job, but as long as they make it, everything is great."

At this point, the same woman who ushered me into my current line ask him when his flight was, and explained to him that they would pull him from the line as well, if they needed to, but that wasn't necessary just yet.
That, of course, did not pacify him. We got one more round of complaints, aimed at us.
At that point, I was done, and the filter was off for the remainder of the trip. I looked at The Big One, who had noticed the commotion, and said out loud, with intent, "Its ok, honey, sometimes, people are just jerks in the morning."
See. The filter came off. She needed to know that people act a fool, and he needed to know that he was acting a fool.

Honestly, it wasn't polite, and it isn't something that I want my children to learn at this age, calling names in particular. However, I also want them to understand that people don't have right to devalue them, or believe that they are any less important than anyone else in this world.

Had I been able to close off my children's ears for a moment, I would have loved to have told that man just that. He was no more, or less, important than anyone else in that line, and we would all be treated the same. Though it would have certainly been done with at least a modicum of profanity thrown in.

Our next filterless moment came shortly there after. On our outbound portion of this trip, we were actually required to run through the airport to make a plane change. SO, of course now The Girls think we must run through the airport all the time. It seems to be hilarious to them. So, we ran straight to our gate. Once we got there, the plane was already on general boarding. WE got in line, and once the boarding passes had been scanned, The Big One took off again to run. I called her back as The Little One and I were walking down the sky bridge.

"You don't need to run anymore. There is going to be a big line of people waiting to get one the plane."

And as I was finishing that line, we hit the line of people. WE took our place at the end, and The Big One looked at me quite confused.

"Mom, why is there a big line waiting to get on the plane?"

I could have been nice, at least, I think I still had the ability, and a little tact left in me, but I opted for a very direct approach on this one.

"Because people bring bags that are far too large to fit onto the airplane with them, bags that they aren't supposed to bring anyway, and that stand in the isle ways, blocking everyone else, and holding up the line, while they struggle to put these bags they shouldn't even have onto the plane. We have to wait until they finish to be able to get on the plane and take our own seats."

This made total sense to her.

"Our bags fit. WE don't' do that."

"You are right, but we still have to wait on people that don't follow the rules, and ruin it for everyone else."

I don't know if the man in front of me thought I was referring to him, because he instantly turned around. I wasn't, though. His carry on was just fine. I checked. He may have been looking to see if I looked as crazy as I sounded. I'm not sure. HE looked at me, then at The Big One, and then turned back around.

I fully realize that if my children don't quite get the filter thing right, I will be at least partially to blame. I suppose I can live with that, as long as they get it right most of the time, or at least know how to apologize should they need to. After all, sometimes, you just have to tell the truth. Nothing else will do.