The Mystery of the Missing Eyebrows
Updated: Jan 26, 2018
After having two little boys, I was excited to have a girl in the house when Carley was born. She was so different than the boys. She would actually sit still and look through her book with chubby little dimpled hands without ever thinking of turning it into a sword to go into combat with her sibling. She thought of other things besides wrestling. She liked coloring a pretty picture and was actually concerned about staying in the lines. She wasn't always trying to extrude gas from her back end. Carley was a joy. I loved dressing her in the most girly outfits I could find. She was a perfect little angel and that's why one particular day took me by surprise.
I am guessing she was 5 or 6. She was learning to shower by herself. When she was all done and dressed in her pink princess pajamas, she looked adorable. I had to take a picture to capture her cuteness. As I looked at the photo on my phone, googling over her in delight, I suddenly thought she looked strange. I couldn't figure out exactly what was wrong. And then, it dawned on me. The child had no eyebrows. None. Zilch. Her forehead was as smooth as a baby's bottom. She had eyebrows when she went upstairs! Where had they gone?! It's not like they could have just walked away! I asked her about it and she said she had no idea how it happened. So, I did what any mother would do. I blamed it on the boys. I pictured them tying her down and shaving off her eyebrows. They pleaded their innocence. I continued to act like a crazy interrogator trying to get them to admit their crime. Carley watched the scene in utter cuteness, until she couldn't take it anymore. She finally admitted to shaving them off in the shower. Because her dad shaves his head in the shower. And she wanted to see how it felt. My perfect baby girl had told a very big lie.
Anyone that says kids are born good has never had any. They come into the world bossy and self-centered. Their vocabulary usually begins with the words “No” and “Mine”. They fight over everything because, of course, everything is theirs. And they lie. They lie about searching the word “boob” in the app store because, while you were smart enough to remove everything potentially harmful from the iPad, you forgot about the app store. They lie about spending 400.00 on in app purchases, buying up tons of pretend coins, because their parents hadn't yet learned about restriction settings. They lie about eating all the M&Ms while the mouth they are using in deceit is covered in chocolate. They lie about test scores when their smart mother has already checked Edline (online site that teachers use to post grades and homework). Once, at a restaurant, Carley was sitting on the other side of the booth with my husband. Camden was sitting by me. Carley jumped, held her head and proceeded to tell us that Camden had just bit her in the head. There was a table between us. Camden never left my side. We knew it wasn't true. A preschool type lesson on lying began. It would have been so easy to listen to her adorable two year old voice tell an absurd story. If we had let it continue or encouraged her to keep telling her story, we would have also been encouraging dishonesty.
Kids will tell stories because their imagination in unhindered and they are children. There needs to be concrete differences between telling stories and telling lies. Stories telling can be encouraged by starting with a simple statement. Something like, “Let's tell a story” or “Let's pretend we are _____ while we do ____”. Lies must be called as they are. One year as we headed to the beach, Carley had a pretty good sized cut on her leg from who knows what. When she got in the water, she pointed at the pre-beach boo boo and said a dolphin had just bit her (why is this child so focused on things biting her?!?). Teaching time. Was this a funny story she wanted to tell or was she trying to tell a lie. Well, she said it was no story. A dolphin had definitely bit her. So, there was another teaching on lies. Nothing big. No grand punishment. Just some ground work laid.
As the kids have gotten older, lies still sneak their way in, despite our attempts at instilling honesty in their little hearts. We are still dealing with them. We aren't even close to perfect parents. Sometimes we can't even get them to admit they are lying (even when we are pretty sure they are). We lay the ground work. We discuss what the Bible has to say. We pray for God's help. We make sure lies are dealt with.
A lot of times, I need to look at my own heart and see if I am leading by example. Do they see me telling lies? Even “little white” ones, which are still lies by the way. Do they see me answering the phone and telling a telemarketer that Kate isn't home, when I am Kate?!? Do they see me sneaking home décor bags in from the car when my husband is occupied by something else? When someone asks for help and I say that we are busy, do they see me laying on the couch being lazy and not busy? Our kids are watching our every move. If we are lying, why should we expect different from them? In Leviticus 19:11, we are told, “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another”. Proverbs 12:22 warns us that God detests lying lips. Be the person today that you want your child to be tomorrow. Watch your life for lies. Watch your child's life for teaching moments that will encourage honesty. And when they aren't perfect and you aren't a good example, remember the redeeming, forgiving blood of Jesus. Teach them to recognize their deceit and how to go to others, and God, for forgiveness. Teach them through your words of instruction. Live out 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”. Teach your children through a life, well lived, with a focus on honesty and Christ. And, for those of you wondering about Carley's eyebrows, they did grow back. But, not in time for school pictures! Push on parents. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation is the philosophy of the government in the next”. It is also the philosophy of the parents. We are shaping the future generation. Let's do our part to help make it an honest one.